Joe Biden alone at a huge table at Camp David. A helicopter evacuating diplomats from the US embassy in Accept. Armed militants shouting victory in Afghanistan: The Taliban’s triumph generated historic images that could tarnish the legacy of the US president.
Biden alone at Camp David
This photograph released Sunday by the White House shows the 46th president of the United States, on vacation at the Camp David rest residence, receiving reports on the situation in Kabul.
Although Biden is supposed to be video-conferencing with his diplomatic and security advisers, he appears totally isolated, in an empty room and sitting at a long table with unoccupied seats.
Many American media, including some progressive ones, have opined that the photo was an official communication error. The negative effect is accentuated by the sloping roof of the Camp David chalet, which reinforces the sense of confinement of a still and silent Biden.
The helicopter and the embassy
The image of a Chinook helicopter flying over the US embassy in Kabul on Sunday, allegedly to evacuate employees, inevitably evokes a similar photograph taken during the fall of Saigon in 1975.
Opposition Republicans were quick to tweet her with the caption: “This is Biden’s Saigon.” On July 8, the White House tenant said: “In no case will you see people evacuated by air from the roof of the US embassy in Kabul.”
Taliban in the presidential palace
Armed with Kalashnikov rifles and wearing black turbans, Taliban militants posed for the cameras inside the presidential palace in Kabul after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.
One of the militants portrayed even claimed that he had spent eight years in the famous US prison at Guantanamo Bay, on the island of Cuba, where the United States has its worst jihadist enemies, a claim not confirmed by AFP.
Panic on the track
The dramatic video showing dozens of Afghans running after a US military transport plane as it took off from Kabul airport, desperately trying to hold onto the fuselage or landing gear, has made headlines around the world.
The footage contradicted the Biden administration’s promise in recent weeks that the departure from Afghanistan would go smoothly.
The cargo plane full of Afghans
The photo of 640 Afghans crammed into a US Air Force C-17 cargo plane Sunday is a powerful symbol of the haste, chaos and anguish that have marked the evacuation effort.
The Pentagon tried to refute that message on Tuesday, saying the image did indeed demonstrate the compassion of the US military.
“It speaks to the humanity of our troops on this mission,” General Hank Taylor said.