“Why did it have to be this way when the US knew it was leaving?”
Because the US wanted the Afghan government to have a fighting chance to take over and not undercut them.
Is that really so difficult to understand?
Of course it is a nightmare. That’s not the question. The question is what plan would have been smooth? The answer: none would have been smooth and not been tragic.
I actually disagree with the decision; I’m in the minority in this country because I think we should have stayed. But the sanctimonious Monday-morning quarterbacking on this is really something to behold.
And some of the same people engaging in sanctimony are the very policy people in Washington who refused to listen to voices like Sarah Chayce who were yelling from the rooftops that it was urgent that we make anti-corruption a centerpiece of our policy there and not a supposedly naive pie-in-the-sky sideshow.
We now see just how right she was.