LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Ahead of the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, New Mexico State University professor with extensive research credentials in international relations is critical of the United States' sudden and chaotic withdrawal from its longest war in Afghanistan.
“There’s no other way to describe it," said Neal Rosendorf, claiming a Taliban victory. "They won. The United States lost."
Rosendorf told ABC-7 that the Trump administration erred in not including the Afghan government in withdrawal negotiations with the Taliban. He said the Biden administration should have revisited negotiations, but chose not to do so.
"The Trump administration fumbled the ball with negotiations and the Biden administration fumbled the ball in the execution of the withdrawal," Rosendorf said.
He reminded the public that there are hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military equipment, including aircraft that the United States demilitarized, making them inoperable for the Taliban. He called this an impending environmental disaster.
"They made no plans to extract all these tanks and trucks and Humvees and helicopters," Rosendorf said. "These are left to basically disintegrate in place. To rust, to poison the land and the water supply."
The professor said the greatest threat to the United States is likely not the growth of the Taliban, but the reputation of the United States on the global stage. He not only worries that NATO allies will lose their faith in the U.S., but that enemy countries like Russia and North Korea will perceive the loss as an opportunity to act.
"America’s image is enormously important in terms of America’s power in the world," Rosendorf said. "It’s easy to forget what it’s like for the United States to be vulnerable."