One year after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan left the country in the hands of the Taliban and left vast quantities of military equipment behind, China and Russia are now cultivating ties with the country, according to a new government report.
That means the White House’s military retreat has empowered Russia even as President Joe Biden steers billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine to use against Vladimir Putin, who he said “cannot remain in power.”
“Russia is probably providing aid to the Taliban in an effort to further develop relations and persuade decision-makers in Kabul to address Moscow’s security concerns,” a joint DHS, DOS, and USAID Inspector General report said, noting that Russia has, for example, donated 17 tons of medical aid to the Taliban’s Ministry of Defense.
Afghanistan has long served as a chess piece in games between Washington and Moscow. In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan to back a Communist government there. It took control of much of the country for a decade, a major event of the Cold War.
China made the decision to accept diplomatic credentials of Taliban reps and permit them to operate the Afghan Embassy in Beijing, likely out of a desire to “gain influence with the Taliban,” the report said. Citing the Department of State, it said China wants to connect Afghanistan to China with a railroad “and is also concerned about Afghanistan harboring terrorists and Chinese separatists. In its effort to deepen relations with the Taliban, the PRC government has promoted business opportunities in Afghanistan to PRC businesses, including in the natural resources sector.” It added that China “openly provided humanitarian aid directly to the Taliban.”
It said the U.S. has provided more than $567 million in humanitarian assistance to independent organizations — not the Taliban — but the efficacy of that money is restricted by Taliban orders. Even as it fights over access to $3.5 billion in its central bank, it has doled out “punitive measures” to NGOs pouring assistance into the country, and at least four aid workers were detained on allegations of corruption when their organizations resisted Taliban restrictions, it said.
“The Taliban earlier this year revived a policy framework from the Ghani administration called the ‘Monitoring and Control Plan of NGOs.’ If implemented fully, the plan would essentially turn NGOs into quasi-government agencies, allowing the Taliban to review and approve their activities, according to a draft of the plan,” it continued.
The Taliban has discouraged programs meant to deter violence against women, and has demanded that female international aid workers be accompanied by a male chaperone, making it difficult to staff the roles and requiring them ” to budget for travel, daily living expenses, and accommodations for male chaperones to accompany female staff members to training, workshops, and project site visits.”
It also reviews all health-related educational materials, demanding that they do not portray women without their faces and bodies covered, it said.
Meanwhile, the Taliban is now in control of billions of dollars in U.S. defense equipment abandoned by U.S. forces.
Since 2005, the U.S. spent nearly $19 billion on weapons and equipment for Afghanistan military forces, and much $7 billion worth left there after the withdrawal now remains in the Taliban’s hands, the report said. That includes some $4 billion worth of tactical vehicles like Humvees and MRAPs, nearly a billion dollars of aircraft, and roughly 316,000 weapons worth $500 million.
The Taliban that currently controls Afghanistan is little different than the one Americans came to know decades ago. The report cited “little discernible change in the behavior of the Taliban’s members, many of whom were part of the Taliban movement that was deposed in 2001.”
Biden followed up the withdrawal by bringing Afghan refugees into the U.S., adding pressure to a country already reeling from illegal immigration on the southern border.
One serviceman who was stationed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, which held some 10,000 migrants, told The Daily Wire that the State Department forbid guards from calling the Afghans anything but “guests,” because calling them refugees was viewed as insulting.
Speaking on condition of anonymity because he is still active duty, he said that he was struck by the fact that even though the media and politicians advertised the group as being primarily interpreters who had helped U.S. forces, “the actual percent who spoke English was negligible. Essentially none.”
He also said that most of them were men who had fled and abandoned their wives and children in an area they claimed was too dangerous for them. “It doesn’t give you a good feeling about people joining America when the one thing you know is you left your wife behind, especially in a male-dominated society where that’s going to leave her in a pretty bad situation,” he said.
He said that even though the thousands of migrants had nothing but free time, no time was spent teaching them English or about American civics, nor figuring out what skills they had that could lend themselves to careers in the country.
This is Part 3 of a Daily Wire series examining the aftermath of one of the Biden administration’s most notorious disasters, which occurred one year ago this month.