'Afghanistan Isn't Vietnam': First VP Amrullah Saleh Claims He is the 'Caretaker President'
The Joe Biden administration argues that the US’ primary objective of “degrading” al-Qaeda, which was behind the 9/11 terror attacks, has been accomplished and that Washington never went into Afghanistan with the motive of “creating a unified, centralised democracy”.
Afghanistan's first Vice President Amrullah Saleh on Tuesday said that he was assuming charge as the nation's "caretaker president", as he cited the nation's constitution that affords him the power to do so "in the absence" of the president.
Saleh’s remarks come barely a couple of days after it was reported that Afghanistan’s last President Ashraf Ghani
had fled the country after the capital Kabul fell to Taliban militants. Saleh, known to be a close aide of Ghani, said in a defiant tweet on 15 August that he wouldn’t surrender to the Taliban.
In another tweet on Tuesday, Saleh also rebutted criticism of the Afghan civilian government by US President Joe Biden, as he sought to reassure his American partners that “Afghanistan isn’t Vietnam” and the Taliban wasn’t like the Viet Cong.
Saleh is now organising an anti-Taliban armed resistance from Panjshir, one of the only remaining provinces in Afghanistan which the Taliban hasn’t captured yet. Located in Afghanistan’s north-eastern part, Panjshir is also the bastion of the erstwhile Northern Alliance and the birthplace of its founder Ahmad Shah Massoud.
The new anti-Taliban force is reportedly being co-led by Massoud’s son, Ahmad Massoud
The social media post by Saleh comes after Biden accused the Afghan government and the Afghan National Defence Forces (ANDF) of "failing" to stand up against the Taliban insurgency and "clean up corruption" in the government ranks despite repeated promptings from Washington.
"It is wrong to order American troops to step up when Afghanistan’s own armed forces would not", stated Biden, as he defended his troop pull-out strategy from Afghanistan in a televised address on 16 August.
“Our mission in Afghanistan was never supposed to have been nation-building. It was never supposed to be creating a unified, centralised democracy”, said the US president, as he spoke to critics about what the US had actually achieved in Afghanistan after being militarily involved in the country for 20 years.
Biden’s remarks came after unprecedented and chaotic images of Afghans
making their way to the Kabul International Airport started pouring in, soon after the Islamist outfit took control of the city.
The images of US diplomatic staff being evacuated from the Kabul Green Zone on Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters prompted comparisons to the Fall of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) to anti-US Communist forces at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.
“This is manifestly not Saigon
”, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in response to a question, when asked if the fall of Kabul was akin to America’s crushing military defeat to the Communist forces in Southeast Asia more than four decades earlier.