The Corner

World

What Did France Know That We Didn’t?

An interesting piece in the Financial Times:

In May — three months before the fall of Kabul to the Taliban — France began evacuating Afghans working for its embassy and other French organisations, along with their families.

Officials said 623 people were flown to France in the weeks before the Afghan army collapsed and the Islamist militant group seized power. These evacuations came in addition to the 800 Afghans and relatives who had worked with the French armed forces and had already been moved after Paris ended military operations in Afghanistan in 2014. France also repeatedly told its citizens to leave.

At the time, the French decision prompted remonstrations from NGOs and from some of France’s European allies. They were concerned about this apparent abandonment of Afghanistan and accused the French of being unduly pessimistic about the security impact of President Joe Biden’s announcement of a full US military withdrawal by September . . .

When the French were able to take a more dispassionate view and draw the obvious conclusions about the consequences of the US withdrawal, the Americans were blinded by their long association with the Afghan armed forces, their $1tn-plus investment in the country, and by the cumbersome nature of their own intelligence systems.

Recommended

The Latest