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Biggest PR disaster for ‘superpower’, Taliban back with a media ban

WebdeskAug 17, 2021, 07:56 AM IST

Biggest PR disaster for ‘superpower’, Taliban back with a media ban

                                                                                                                                                                          Nirendra Dev

 

The latest crisis for Americans is indeed the ‘biggest PR disaster’ for the superpower, and the optic created would have serious international ramifications. 

 

New Delhi: As the maxim goes–one has to live with the monster you create!

 

Years of aiding and abetting trouble makers in the Afghanistan region to ensure the exit of the erstwhile Soviet Union has now come back to haunt the United States in more ways than one.

 

And the fallen guy is Democratic President Joe Biden, who perhaps got a favourable mandate in 2020 largely because of the mistakes of Donald Trump's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

There were other Presidents to get their share of the blame-George W Bush, who started it all and then Barack Obama and Trump himself.

 

Experts say the latest crisis for Americans is indeed the ‘biggest PR disaster’ for the superpower, and the optic created would have serious international ramifications.

 

Maj Gen (Retd) G D Bakshi has said that “The fact of the matter is the Americans have orchestrated for themselves a PR disaster of the worst order.”

 

He said the latest developments in Afghanistan with the Taliban taking over the country's reins even before the Americans and NATO forces have finally withdrawn shows a steep ‘decline’ for the ‘image of the superpower’.

 

“The way these withdrawals have been conducted in undue haste has created a very bad optic, They are saying it is not Vietnam. My point is that this is worse than Vietnam. The fall of Saigon had no international repercussions, but the fall of Kabul has terrible regional and international repercussions.”

 

 

He said: “It has given an optic of victory to a ragtag outfit like Taliban.”

 

Western and American media, in particular, have slammed President Joe Biden.

 

“Past presidents might have had a senior adviser to resign in the wake of such a debacle, as Les Aspin, then the secretary of defence did after the 1993 Black Hawk Down episode in Somalia. This time, Biden owns the moment. He also owns the consequences. We should begin to anticipate them now, says a write up in the 'New York Times'.

 

Similarly, there were comments in ‘The Washington Post’. “The words that Biden uses to describe the delta variant — a 'largely preventable tragedy that will get worse before it gets better' — apply to his handling of Afghanistan,” said the paper.

 

Meanwhile, the Taliban seemed to have taken over the reins with their old machinations and ideologies.

 

Whatever they are trying to put forward, a new ’Taliban-2.0’ version, on the ground, things look the same old wine of the 1990s when they ruled the war-hit nation and its ill-fated people with an iron fist and certain Draconian norms and rules.

 

 

Ground reports from Kabul and other parts of the country say the same old restrictions have been applied on women and girl children, and men have been asked not to shave.

 

Certain of these truly reflect what was seen in the nineties between 1996 and 2001 until the Americans invasion post-9/11.

 

A German commentator said, “There is going to be rollback in many areas of gains particularly in matters of women's rights.”

 

“The women are not allowed to move out of their houses without a male companion or guardian. There are already reports of media blackout,” another commentator said, and this has prevented ‘coverage’ of atrocities where Taliban rules have been re-established after 20 years.

 

Joe Biden truly now carries the burden of the missteps of others, Bush, Obama and Trump, and has added a few more of his own errors.

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