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Don't Believe the Headlines: The War in Afghanistan Is NOT Over

Jason Minto/U.S. Air Force via AP

On Monday, the Pentagon announced that the United States had finished evacuating civilians and troops from Afghanistan, calling it the end of the 20-year war.

“I am here to announce the completion of our withdrawal from Afghanistan and the end of the military mission to evacuate American citizens, third-country nationals, and vulnerable Afghans,” Marine Corps General Kenneth McKenzie told reporters. “The last C-17 lifted of from Hamid Karzai International Airport on August 30th, this afternoon at 3:29 p.m. eastern time. The last manned aircraft is now clearing the airspace above Afghanistan.”

The botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the rushed evacuations that followed, have been politically devastating for Joe Biden, driving his approval ratings down, and damaging America’s reputation abroad. The worst came on Friday when a terror attack at the airport in Kabul resulted in the deaths of 13 U.S. service members.

But the announcement is nothing more than smoke and mirrors designed to turn our attention away from Afghanistan. Axios reported on Sunday that the United States and 97 other countries “announced Sunday that they had reached an agreement with the Taliban to allow them to continue to get Afghan allies out of the country after the Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline.”

“We are all committed to ensuring that our citizens, nationals and residents, employees, Afghans who have worked with us and those who are at risk can continue to travel freely to destinations outside Afghanistan,” the joint statement read. “We have received assurances from the Taliban that all foreign nationals and any Afghan citizen with travel authorization from our countries will be allowed to proceed in a safe and orderly manner to points of departure and travel outside the country.”

“We will continue issuing travel documentation to designated Afghans, and we have the clear expectation of and commitment from the Taliban that they can travel to our respective countries. We note the public statements of the Taliban confirming this understanding.”

So, not only are evacuations continuing, but we’re trusting the Taliban to allow for safe passage for Afghans and Americans to get out of the country.

Back in July, Joe Biden acted shocked when he was asked if he trusted the Taliban.

“Do you trust the Taliban?” Fox News Radio reporter Jon Decker asked.

“No, I do not,” Biden replied. “No, I do not trust the Taliban.

“Mr. President, will you amplify your answer,” Decker continued. “Why you don’t trust the Taliban?”

“It’s a silly question!” Biden snapped back. “Do I trust the Taliban?! No!”

But, apparently, we do now. In a statement released Monday, Biden said, “I have asked the Secretary of State to lead the continued coordination with our international partners to ensure safe passage for any Americans, Afghan partners, and foreign nationals who want to leave Afghanistan. […] The Taliban has made commitments on safe passage and the world will hold them to their commitments.”

What could possibly go wrong? Biden wants to wave a banner that reads “Mission Accomplished,” but we’re not there yet. Not by a long shot.

Make no mistake about it: This agreement, made in advance of the “completion” of our withdrawal, is proof that the Biden administration is trying to get America to shift focus away from Afghanistan. If the Biden administration says we’re out of Afghanistan, Biden will continue to claim he’s ended the 20-year war, all while we depend on the Taliban to allow Americans, citizens of other countries, and Afghan allies to safely leave the country.

This is a recipe for disaster. In addition to our “departure” from Afghanistan, Joe Biden has promised to “hunt down” those responsible for the terror attacks that killed 13 U.S. service members.

“We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay,” he said last week.

So, assuming he meant it, drone strikes will presumably continue until some measure of success in the effort of hunting down those responsible for the attack has been achieved. And who knows what that really is. In addition to two “high-profile” ISIS-K targets the Pentagon won’t name, Biden’s drone strikes have managed to kill a number of civilians, including children. As of right now, our brave men and women killed last week have not been avenged, and al-Qaeda, ISIS, and ISIS-K all remain a threat to the United States. If Biden doesn’t continue to target ISIS-K, he will have gone back on his word. Maybe his word doesn’t mean much to him, but it means a lot to the families of those killed.

So, let’s not kid ourselves. The war isn’t over. We still have people in Afghanistan to get out. We still have enemies to bring to justice.