NBC's Richard Engel: Biden's Afghan withdrawal was 'the worst capitulation of western values in our lifetimes'

Media top headlines August 30

In media news today, Obama’s former education secretary gets slammed for likening anti-maskers to Kabul suicide bombers, Disney faces internal pressure to conduct an outside probe of ABC News’ handling of sexual harassment claims, and ABC’s Jon Karl says Biden admin calling Afghanistan a success is not based in ‘reality’

NBC News’ chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel knocked the Biden administration’s “chaotic withdrawal” from Afghanistan. 

Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Engel called the evacuation of over 100,000 people a “success” but noted that “there are many people who are being left behind” and began questioning the “legacy” of President Biden’s decision to pull troops out of Afghanistan. 

“Many people I’m speaking to say we are far worse off than we were from the beginning because within a few weeks of launching this war, the Taliban were overthrown, al-Qaeda was scattered,” Engel said while reporting from Qatar on Monday. “Now, the U.S. is leaving after 20 years with the Taliban in power and the United States having been driven out. It’s a tremendous legacy.”

Engel questioned whether “we are going to see the next Usama bin Laden” in the fallout of the Afghan withdrawal, calling it a “profound moment” and how the Taliban has “filled a hole” in Central Asia. 

“We are coming to the conclusion with the United States… leaving a legacy behind that I think- some have described it as the worst capitulation of western values in our lifetimes,” Engel said. “I went to Afghanistan, I arrived a couple of weeks ago- it was a Republic backed by the United States, backed by the West! Now it’s an emerging Islamic emirate trying to find its way.”

Engel has been an outspoken critic over the Biden administration’s “humiliating” withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

“If you’d step back and look at what is going on, this is the United States, after 20 years, this war used to be called Operation Enduring Freedom, and it’s turned out not to be enduring and they’re not leaving a society that is free,” Engel said on Tuesday. “It is only free according to what the Taliban says will be free, the Taliban promises that it will be free.”

“You could also look at this as a tremendously humiliating- a moment of American humiliation leaving- forced to leave on the Taliban’s clock and with the Taliban’s good graces. So tactically, it makes sense, but I’m not sure how history- I think history will judge this moment as a very dark period for the United States,” he added.

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