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24 Apr, 2023 19:12

Ukraine given Afghanistan-style warning by US – Politico

Washington has reportedly delivered Kiev the same kind of message it sent to Kabul ahead of the 2021 pullout 
Ukraine given Afghanistan-style warning by US – Politico

The White House has given Ukraine the same warning it delivered to the US-backed regime in Afghanistan in 2021, Politico reported on Monday citing anonymous sources in President Joe Biden’s administration.

According to the outlet, Washington has urged Kiev not to spread its troops too thin or overextend its ambitions. This is what Biden reportedly told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at some point, before the US pulled out of Afghanistan and the Taliban took over the country.

The warning came in the context of US fears that the “ever-imminent counteroffensive” by Kiev’s forces might fall far short of expectations, leaving Biden open to criticism from both hawks and doves, at home and in Europe.

Politico originally reported that Ukraine had suffered 100,000 troops killed over the past 14 months, later editing that to refer to total casualties, including the wounded and missing. Many of Kiev’s top soldiers were “either sidelined or exhausted,” the outlet said, having gone through “historic amounts” of weapons and ammunition even the West’s “prodigious output” could not keep pace with.

Some US officials have reportedly pitched the idea of a negotiated ceasefire, leaving the door open for Kiev to resume hostilities after rearming and recovering.

The US was supposed to leave Afghanistan by May 2021, according to a peace deal Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump had reached with the Taliban. Biden unilaterally delayed the departure by several months. As US troops began to withdraw, both Biden and his aides repeatedly told reporters that the Afghan government’s forces were capable of holding off the Taliban for at least several months.

Earlier this month, the White House released a report tacitly admitting a lot of things had gone wrong with the withdrawal, but blaming it all on Trump and the Afghans themselves. 

“No agency predicted a Taliban takeover in nine days,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters. “No agency predicted the rapid fleeing of President [Ashraf] Ghani ... And no agency predicted that the more than 300,000 trained and equipped Afghan national security and defense forces would fail to fight for their country, especially after 20 years of American support.”

The US-armed and -funded Afghan army had surrendered to the Taliban without much of a fight, and Kabul fell on August 15, before the US managed to finish the evacuation.