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Letters to the Editor: Why fears of ‘blowback’ and terrorism from Afghanistan are exaggerated

Taliban fighters stand guard at a checkpoint near the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Tuesday.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: As Americans absorb the Afghanistan defeat, the critical question for U.S. security becomes about blowback. Translated, will extremists now be better positioned to mount an attack on the homeland, a concern raised by Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff?

Fear of blowback brings a history of exaggeration, Vietnam being the prime example. Rather than dominos falling, communist “allies” fell on each other, resulting in the Third Indochina War that started in 1975.

Given the risk that the Taliban will harbor Al Qaeda and the like, threatening not only the U.S. but other “apostate” nations near and far, cauterization will be the goal. Now, we have over-the-horizon U.S. military capability to disrupt terrorist planning and dramatically improved homeland security since the 9/11 attacks.

Exaggerating Afghanistan’s blowback potential perpetuates an expanded U.S. “war on terrorism” that ill serves the national interest.

Bennett Ramberg, Los Angeles

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The writer was a foreign affairs officer in the State Department Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs during the George H.W. Bush administration.

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To the editor: I understand President Biden’s logic as to why after 20 years the United States should not continue to engage in Afghanistan. What none of us understands is why we were not prepared for the rapid downfall and takeover of the country by the Taliban.

The most heartrending question is this: Why does America always promise to help those who put their lives on the line to work side by side with our military as interpreters, promising them our loyalty and help, only to leave them in danger?

Remember how we abruptly ditched the Kurds in 2019?

Mary Ann Ayres, Torrance

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To the editor: I am a Democrat who voted for Biden. Now, I am shocked by his insistence that he had no other choice in ending this “forever war” of 20 years.

I don’t buy this for two seconds.

Where did the strange naivete with regard to the brutality of the Taliban come from? I have heard some people say this is a more “modern” Taliban. What does this mean? That it has advanced from the 7th century into the 8th?

Judging by the mass attempt to flee the capital, Kabul, clearly the people of Afghanistan have not forgotten what the Taliban is.

We have had a military presence in Japan and Germany for decades. There is no way I accept that this is the best we could have done in Afghanistan.

Stacey Cole, Lancaster


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