While Afghanistan’s women endure unimaginable suffering, only Foreign Affairs Chair Michael McCaul (R-TX) and J.K. Rowling seem to care.
Had Donald Trump been responsible for the botched U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, the women of Afghanistan might even now be getting the attention they so richly deserve from media outlets and political leaders in the United States.
Unfortunately for Afghanistan’s women, it was instead President Joe Biden— a Democratic president far more popular with mainstream media outlets than his hated predecessor — who ultimately gave the orders, approved the drawdown of U.S. troops and presided over those catastrophic final U.S. days in Afghanistan.
Desperate people clinging to airplanes, falling to their deaths during a frantic scramble to flee; Americans and Afghan allies left behind in droves; U.S. military service members killed during a terrorist attack on the Kabul Airport — a mission-critical location for which President Biden was depending on the Taliban to provide security; a humanitarian aid worker and his entire family bombed by a tragically mistaken U.S. drone strike: It’s hard to imagine the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan going any worse than it did.
By any metric — except perhaps that of mainstream press outlets in the U.S. intent on protecting Joe Biden, or at the very least preventing a comeback by Donald Trump — the operation to end the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan was an abject failure. The international press is certainly not giving the U.S. a pass on Afghanistan, not least of all its ignominious and poorly-executed exit.
Had Donald Trump been responsible, the debacle may have received the attention it so richly deserved from U.S. legacy media outlets in full possession of the “Afghanistan Papers”.
The “Afghanistan Papers” is a collection of classified documents published by the Washington Post in 2019, which revealed that senior U.S. officials had repeatedly misled the public about the progress and prospects of the war in Afghanistan.
The papers were based on a confidential trove of interviews and internal government documents obtained by the Post through a Freedom of Information Act request. The trove revealed that U.S. officials had been aware for years that the war in Afghanistan was unwinnable, yet had continued to paint a ridiculously optimistic picture of the situation to the American public.
Anyone who gave the Afghanistan Papers even a cursory glance could have precisely predicted the dreadful scene the world witnessed in Kabul in 2021.
The short version: U.S. officials and military brass from three successive presidential administrations misled the American people, media outlets, and often other elected officials about U.S. successes in training Afghanistan’s military to function without assistance from Washington.
On paper, Afghanistan’s American-trained troops always looked great. Once on the ground in Afghanistan, U.S. military trainers were frequently horrified and dismayed by the reality: Afghanistan’s armed forces were in no way capable of holding off the Taliban on their own.
Didn’t the Biden Administration have access to the Afghanistan Papers? Surely President Biden’s staff gets the Post?
Did the legacy media — including the Washington Post — forget about the Afghanistan Papers?
Even after the U.S. withdrawal unequivocally and tragically proved the truth of the Afghanistan Papers — the fact that American officials, including Biden’s Administration, knew full well, or should have known, what would happen the moment U.S. troops left Afghanistan never gets mentioned at all by mainstream press outlets.
Also absent from mainstream press coverage is any mention of the suffering women are currently enduring in Afghanistan. No one was even fired over the botched Afghanistan withdrawal.
Since drawing attention to the suffering of women in Afghanistan might reflect badly on President Biden and the Democratic Party, the mainstream press seems keen on avoiding it. But not everyone is ready to forget the women of Afghanistan.
“The situation in the country is dire,” warned Congressman Michael McCaul (R-TX) and former-Afghanistan ambassador Roya Rahmani in a recent op-ed for The Hill, “The women of Afghanistan are suffering — but not forgotten.”
Ms. Rahmani, who served as Afghanistan’s first female Ambassador to the United States, was working in the U.S. when Kabul fell.
“While access to humanitarian aid and health care is shrinking, starvation skyrockets,” McCaul and Rahmani warned. “Afghanistan faces the highest levels of starvation in the world, with half the population categorized as facing crisis or emergency-level food insecurity.”
“Once again, it is women and children who stand to suffer the most, as USAID notes that 70 percent or more of all Afghan beneficiaries of humanitarian assistance are women and women are twice as likely as men to share provided meals with their families,” McCaul and Rahmani wrote.
Besides Roya Rahmani, Congressman McCaul, and a scant handful of other elected officials, only one major celebrity has expressed much support for Afghanistan’s abandoned women.
In January 2023, it came to light that author J.K. Rowling had secretly diverted some of her vast Harry Potter fortune to help 103 female lawyers flee Afghanistan with their families in 2021.
A total of 508 people from Afghanistan hid in basements and safe houses as they were painstakingly smuggled to freedom— all the female lawyers were on Taliban kill lists and were marked for assassination.
These were the fortunate few.
How many remain?
And at what point will “progressive” media outlets start to care?
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)