Headline RoundupAugust 16th, 2021

Perspectives: Placing Blame as Afghanistan Falls to Taliban

Summary from the AllSides News Team

As Afghanistan falls to Taliban militants on the heels of the U.S. military's departure from the country, people in the U.S. and across the world are considering who or what is to blame. The Biden administration announced in April that the U.S. would leave Afghanistan completely by Sept. 11, 2021, and the last U.S. troops left Bagram Airfield, the main U.S. military base in the region for the past two decades, in early July; roughly six weeks later, the Taliban captured it. Former President Donald Trump and the Taliban reached an agreement in February 2020 that said all U.S. troops would leave the country by May 2021 in exchange for the Taliban agreeing to work with the Afghan government. Video of frantic Afghans fleeing the capital city of Kabul have dominated headlines across the spectrum and social media Monday.

Voices across the political spectrum placed blame on the U.S. government's handling of Afghanistan over the past 20 years, as well as the Biden administration in particular, often framing the recent U.S. departure from the country as needlessly hasty; opinions from CNN (Left bias) and National Review (Right bias) both described Biden's handling of Afghanistan as a "debacle." Viewpoints from military personnel who served in Afghanistan were also seen across the spectrum; many blamed themselves for supporting a purportedly "aimless" U.S. effort to help stabilize the Middle East. Many voices from the right also highlighted a report that White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has taken the week off; left- and center-rated outlets did not.

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