The US left Afghanistan. What now?

Working with NATO allies, the Biden administration must think about its attitude towards the Taliban, its arrangements for the fight against terrorism and how it can help innocent Afghans.

The Biden administration is on alert after last week's Daesh-K (ISIS-K) attack on Kabul Airport. In particular, the 13 US Service Members killed during the attack put Biden in trouble. But President Joe Biden still stands by his earlier decisions, despite the political unrest caused by the Taliban swiftly seizing power in Afghanistan and the US’ longest military conflict in ending in chaos.

Whether Biden will successfully resolve this political crisis or fail to do so will depend on numerous factors, including the safe evacuation of the US citizens from Afghanistan. The problems encountered during the evacuation of the US citizens and the US-allied Afghans, as well as the US-supported Afghan troops being overwhelmed quickly, has meant that Biden's foreign policy has become questionable.

President Biden has signalled that the threat of terrorism may continue after the evacuations and that the Pentagon is always ready to give the necessary response by conducting over-the-horizon operations with intelligence support.

Many members of the US Congress are upset with President Biden. While Senator Lindsey Graham said that the "The Taliban are playing games, slow-walking evacuations, [and] clearly setting up a hostage situation post-August 31," Michael Waltz of the House of Representatives announced that some members of Congress are calling on the former Vice President of Afghanistan, Amrullah Saleh, and the representative Ahmad Massoud to be recognised as legitimate government representatives, and calling the Taliban takeover illegal.

Seth Moulton and Peter Meijer, two members of the House of Representatives, were sharply criticised for taking an unauthorised trip to Afghanistan, which they defended by stating that they could not get exact information on the evacuations from the Biden administration, and therefore wanted to conduct oversight.

There have been many interviews with American veterans of the Afghan War in American media in the past week. Consequently, we see the efforts of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) to rescue the Afghan interpreters who helped during the war.

Some Afghanistan War veterans in New York and Virginia that I spoke with expressed anger at the Biden administration and said it would be a "betrayal" if the administration did not bring local Afghans who helped the military to the US.

The Biden administration now has to take more careful steps regarding Afghanistan. Otherwise, it may begin to see the negative impacts domestically. A poll conducted by Reuters and Ipsos revealed that Biden's public support has dropped by seven percentage points in just a few days, the lowest level recorded during his presidency.

Working in a more cooperative manner with NATO allies, the Biden administration must think about its attitude towards the Taliban, what arrangements it will make for the fight against terrorism and how it can help innocent Afghans.

NATO would be the best avenue for pressuring the Taliban to respect human rights and stop the spread of terrorist organisations in the country. Otherwise, a country that has already been torn apart may be further shattered and face new humanitarian crises and chaos.