New York Times bashes Biden for economic aftermath of Afghanistan withdrawal: It’s ‘unconscionable’

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The New York Times is warning that President Biden’s biggest blunder could be the conditions left behind in Afghanistan following his botched withdrawal, leaving the nation’s economy in shambles. 

After the president made the decision to pull U.S. troops out of Kabul in August, Afghanistan’s economy took a “predicted” hit since American presence bolstered its livelihood, New York Times opinion columnist Ezra Klein wrote.  

“We have turned a crisis into a catastrophe,” he said. “The Afghan economy was built around our support. Roughly 45 percent of the G.D.P. and 75 percent of government spending was foreign aid. When we abruptly cut off that cash, we sent it into a tailspin.”

U.S soldiers guard a perimeter at the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Shekib Rahmani)

U.S soldiers guard a perimeter at the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Shekib Rahmani)

Klein quoted economic historian Adam Tooze who stated back in August, “The Taliban may threaten Afghan freedom and rights, but it is the abrupt end to funding from the West that jeopardizes Afghanistan’s material survival.” Not only was economic collapse predictable, Klein commented, but the administration did nothing to prevent it.

“That we did so little to stop it, and so much to worsen it, is unconscionable,” he said. 

According to OCHA, 95% of Afghans do not have enough to eat. International Rescue Committee president David Miliband wrote recently in a CNN op-ed that the current crisis could “kill far more Afghans than the past 20 years of war.”

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President Joe Biden answers questions during a news conference in the East Room of the White House on Jan. 19, 2022, in Washington. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) 

President Joe Biden answers questions during a news conference in the East Room of the White House on Jan. 19, 2022, in Washington. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) 

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Even though Klein was adamant that the Biden administration did not want this outcome for the Afghan people, the columnist asserted that this is still the policy they chose.

“We comfort ourselves by saying we are the largest donor to the Afghanistan relief effort, but we are also a major reason the crisis is dire in the first place, and we continue to be,” he said.

An Afghan man collects scraps of aluminum and plastic, in Herat, Afghanistan, on Nov. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

An Afghan man collects scraps of aluminum and plastic, in Herat, Afghanistan, on Nov. 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

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“I make no pretense of knowing how to solve a problem as wicked as Afghanistan. But Joe Biden chose this policy,” he added. “For his own legacy, and more important, for the tens of millions of human beings suffering in Afghanistan, he needs to figure out how to fix it.”

The administration’s messy and deadly withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan was condemned by both Republicans and Democrats. A suicide bombing in Kabul in August during the evacuation killed 13 U.S. service members and more than 170 Afghans.

Biden was later questioned after at least 100 Americans appeared to be stranded in Afghanistan after he previously pledged not to leave any American behind.

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