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Surrounded by over-equipped Taliban, he entered a hangar in Kabul where a few helicopters were abandoned. We are in “What was part of the US-controlled military airport a few minutes ago”, explains Nabih Bulos, the correspondent of Los Angeles Times in the Middle-East. Now the Taliban in “Took control”, he notes in this video published on the evening of August 30 on Twitter and viewed nearly three million times.

The journalist’s barely concealed amazement mirrors the consternation that hit the American press covering the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, which ended on August 30, a day before the deadline decided by Washington and the ex-insurgents, now masters of the country. The disorganization of operations, but also the abandonment to their fate of Afghan partners of the United States and the direct implication of President Joe Biden, have largely occupied the American media over the past two days.

The last evacuation flight thus marks a “Day of shame in American history”, grieves the Wall Street Journal in an editorial, noting that a “Unknown number of Americans – perhaps a few hundred – were unable to board the last flights” and that, according to NGOs, 60,000 Afghans who fought the Taliban, or who assisted NATO, “Were left behind”.

” He is incredible, castigates the great economic daily, that Mr. Biden will rely on the goodwill of the Taliban so that those who remain can board commercial or charter flights. ” The de facto cooperation between Washington and the former insurgents no less surprised the New York Times, of which a journalist reports the striking words of an American soldier: “We have a mutually beneficial relationship with the Taliban”, and to specify that the thing is said “Without irony”.

The extent of the chaos has shocked even the most seasoned reporters. “I had never seen this since the post-September 11th (…) : officials [américains] appeared openly disoriented, shocked and furious at their own government, expressing a deep sense of shame ”, confides in the New Yorker David Rohde, specialist in the region, double Pulitzer Prize and ex-hostage of the Taliban. He emphasizes that part of the evacuations did not rest on the authorities but on WhatsApp or Signal channels which were swarming with tips. “On the Taliban checkpoints, the size of the crowds, and, most importantly, on the airport gates that were open. A call, text or email to the right person could save a life. “

Al-Qaida, “the shadow of itself”

There is little more than CNN to estimate that the withdrawal, although “Chaotic and humiliating”, also showed “The power of the United States”, allowing to evacuate in a few weeks “123,000 Americans, Afghans and citizens of allied nations” in “Extraordinary transaction”.

For its part, the Washington post confronts points of view on whether the United States is safer after the withdrawal from Afghanistan. For Michael Leiter, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center from 2007 to 2011, who signs a forum, “The United States and our allies have made incredible strides since 9/11 (…) which make us much safer than the last time the Taliban ruled ” the country, from 1996 to 2001. Al-Qaida is no more than “The shadow of itself” ; the Islamic State organization certainly represents a ” challenge “, but the Taliban are showing much more“Aggressiveness” against ISIS than against the organization that brought down the World Trade Center towers, according to the former official.

The newspaper’s political experts are less optimistic. “For President Biden, the end of the ‘Eternal War’ is more about the inflection point than the true conclusion,” they analyze, referring in particular to the “Humanitarian crisis” refugees as well as doubts about the goodwill of the new regime.

“Tale of helplessness”

They also note that the Afghan chaos contradicts the argument of the ” skill “ that Joe Biden has constantly put forward to take Donal Trump’s place in the Oval Office: “The footage from Afghanistan revealed an inability to plan, an underestimation of a foreign adversary and ineffective efforts to catch up.”, but also “An attempt not to take full responsibility”. For CNN, these pebbles in the president’s shoe will help his Republican opponents to “Build a story of helplessness and neglect until the mid-term elections”, in 2022.

Fox News has taken this path before: “This is the worst military operation I have ever seen and it has nothing to do with the army, but with a government that let it down, criticized Greg Gutfeld, one of the editorialists of the conservative channel. We are the largest army in the world and we depend on the Taliban. Just putting these words together makes you sad. “

At the end of his long account devoted to the last American fires in Afghanistan, the New York Times condenses the situation into a sad alternative: “Maybe the Americans will demand accountability for the thousands of lives and billions of dollars lost with the sole result of the Taliban regaining control, more powerful than twenty years ago. Or maybe they won’t care, and move forward in an America that will continue to be deeply scarred by war – politically, economically and personally – whether they know it or not. “

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