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A US Military Vet Reckons with America's Failures in Afghanistan | Elliot Ackerman | GZERO World

A US military vet reckons with America's failures in Afghanistan

On Aug. 15, 2021, the Taliban swept back to power in Afghanistan, after the US departed following two decades of war. Ian Bremmer speaks to former Marine and author Elliot Ackerman on GZERO World. According to Ackerman, when it comes to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the US had a degree of objectivity it had lost after 20 years in Afghanistan. The war, he explained, had come to define our military thinking and intelligence capability because the US was involved there for such a long time.

The US could have done a better job getting out of Afghanistan, according to Ackerman. Requests for an evacuation plan fell on deaf ears in the Pentagon and the White House, especially when it came to securing visas for Afghans who had helped the US military effort.

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The Volunteer US Military & America's Shame Post-Afghanistan | GZERO World

The volunteer US military & America's shame post-Afghanistan

For Elliot Ackerman, leaving no man behind was part of his code of honor when he was first a US marine and later a CIA officer. But the US military principle was not followed when American troops departed Afghanistan a year ago.

"There was no process to get our allies out," he tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

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Ian Explains: The Taliban Surprise & Ongoing Afghan Agony | GZERO World

The Taliban surprise & ongoing Afghan agony

On Aug. 15, 2021, the Taliban swept back to power in Afghanistan. By the end of the month, US forces had departed after two decades of war.

President Joe Biden made good on his promise to bring the troops home before the 20th anniversary of 9/11. But the withdrawal was very messy, and Afghan institutions and army were not ready to resist the Taliban.

A year on, the country remains in shambles, Ian Bremmer explains on GZERO World.

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Petraeus on the Afghanistan Crisis | GZERO World

Petraeus on the Afghanistan crisis

Former CIA chief and four-star general David Petraeus, who once commanded US forces in Afghanistan, has been a harsh critic of President Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from the country. Now, as Afghans face one of the worst humanitarian crises of the modern era, Petraeus tells Ian Bremmer how he thinks the United States can still help avert total disaster.

But when it comes to sending aid to the Afghan people, Petraeus acknowledges that challenges remain. “The question is, how do you bring that to bear for the people without enabling the Taliban government, which we won't recognize, I'm sure, if ever?”

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Former Central Bank Governor Ajmal Ahmady Discusses Afghanistan's Perilous Future | GZERO World

Former Central Bank Governor Ajmal Ahmady discusses Afghanistan's perilous future

Ian Bremmer speaks to exiled Afghan Central Bank Governor Ajmal Ahmady on his own harrowing escape and the perils that await the very much aid-dependent country's economy now under Taliban control.

A US veteran on the “betrayal” of leaving Afghans behind | GZERO World

A US veteran on the “betrayal” of leaving Afghans behind

Former US Army Captain Matt Zeller owes his life to an Afghan interpreter and resents what he sees as the Biden administration's decision to let the Taliban dictate the terms of the withdrawal. He asks Americans to think about all the Afghans who got left behind despite risking their own lives to help US forces. "Put yourself in their shoes," urges Zeller, who has a sobering message for America after leaving Afghanistan: "We're now going to carry a moral injury that will never abate. A scar that will never disappear." Watch his visceral testimonial on this episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer.

Watch the episode: Afghanistan, 2021: Afghan & US military perspectives as the last soldier leaves

Does Biden’s deadline really mean anything?

Well, deadlines are deadlines. That, for now, seems to be the Biden administration's position on Afghanistan. On Tuesday, the White House announced it would not extend the current August 31 deadline for the full withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan.

The decision flies in the face of efforts by US lawmakers from both parties and foreign allies, who have pressed the White House to extend the deadline. Seeing the chaos in Kabul airport and the Biden administration's botched handling of the withdrawal so far, they want more time to get Americans and other Western nationals out of the country, as well as the thousands of Afghans who supported the NATO mission or the former government and now face reprisals from the Taliban.

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Countries that hosted the highest number of Afghan refugees in 2020(millions of refugees)

The Graphic Truth: Who hosts the most Afghan refugees?

Afghanistan has been mired in conflict — spanning the Soviet invasion, civil war, and the US occupation — since the late 1970s, prompting a decades-long refugee crisis. In 2020, after the Trump administration announced the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and inked a subsequent deal with the Taliban, Afghans began leaving the country in droves, fearing exactly what we are seeing today: a Taliban takeover. Most have gone to neighboring Pakistan, as well as Iran. We take a look at which countries hosted the most Afghan refugees as of December 2020, and how that compares to their broader refugee populations.

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