During the 2020 political campaign, President Biden presented himself as a globe-trotting leader who had helmed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, served as President Barack Obama’s point man on complex international issues and who was determined to bring a steady hand to national security.
Yet the turmoil that has engulfed Afghanistan, which has led Mr. Biden to send 5,000 troops back to the country, roughly doubling the force he decided in April to take out, has confronted the White House with a crisis that could have lasting humanitarian and national-security consequences, former officials say.
“We are not at the worst point yet,” said Carter Malkasian, the author of a comprehensive history of the Afghan conflict who served as an adviser to former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford. “Now that the Taliban are moving into Kabul and overturning the democratic government we have been supporting for 20 years, it is highly likely they will seek to punish, and perhaps even execute, the Afghans who worked with us.”
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