The Afghan ambassador to the US criticized the Biden administration for suggesting that lasting peace in her country is possible only through a political solution – amid warnings that the Taliban could seize Kabul in as little as a month as American troops withdraw.
Ambassador Adela Raz told NewsNationNow that the American withdrawal has been “quick” and has “created consequences,” but held out hope for her war-torn country with the help of close air support by the US even after ground forces are gone by the end of this month.
“If I talk about the fall of Kabul, then I’m shattering my hopes,” Raz told the news outlet.
The diplomat complained that the present US air support is “extremely limited” and that the war is growing more intense by the day. The airstrikes are scheduled to end when the US formally ends its role in the conflict on Aug. 31.
Biden could continue airstrikes after that, but experts view it as unlikely.
“It’s not always going to be feasible, but where and when feasible, we will continue to support them with airstrikes,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters Monday.
Raz countered in her interview, saying: “But it is feasible because [the US] did that post-9/11 and it was effective. [The US] took control of the entire country in two weeks. And I was there.”
She added: “We have been fighting for ourselves and for the peace and security of the rest of the world. That we are doing, and we will do it to the last minute.”
Raz also called on Washington and its allies to reimpose sanctions like travel bans on Taliban leaders, and also called for more help defending Afghan officials against Taliban militants.
She said she was hopeful, but skeptical, of the prospect of peace.
“Do we have one example [of making peace with terrorists]?” Raz told NewsNationNow.
Last month, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said a political solution was “the only outcome to lasting peace” in the country.
“I would note that there are ongoing political negotiations and discussions that we certainly support between Afghan leaders, members of the Afghan government and the Taliban,” she told reporters.
“We believe a political solution is the only outcome to lasting peace in Afghanistan, but we will continue to provide support to the government in the form of humanitarian support, security support, training. We will also continue to encourage them to take a leading role in defending and protecting their own people,” Psaki added.
Raz cautioned that “we should not put all our eggs in one basket. And assuming there would be a political solution, we have to prepare for the possibility: what if there is no political solution?”
She said there are no signs the Taliban are ready to talk.
“I’m not for war. I grew up in war. I lost my relatives. I don’t want it. It’s a hard time,” Raz said, adding that members of her own family are fighting the terrorists as civilians.
“I think for every Afghan, because we don’t advocate for war, but there is a time we need to defend ourselves,” she told the outlet.
The Taliban has taken ten of 35 provincial capitals in Afghanistan but the the White House maintained Wednesday that Afghan forces “have what they need” to battle the militant group.
The speed of the Taliban’s blitz has reportedly stunned US intelligence officials after the Biden administration had previously estimated Kabul could be overrun within six to 12 months of troops departing.
It now fears it could come much sooner, sources told the Washington Post.
Earlier this week, Biden said he did not regret his decision to withdraw following the decades-long war.
“We spent over a trillion dollars, over 20 years. We trained and equipped with modern equipment over 300,000 Afghan forces … they’ve got to fight for themselves,” the president said, adding that Afghan troops “outnumber the Taliban.”