As the US continue to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and the Taliban stand poised to form a new government, the Biden administration has been facing tremendous backlash. And if social media is any indication, the situation has been made considerably worse United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken's recent gaffe.
Speaking about the fall of the Afghan government the official declared that he had "been on the phone with President Karzai" the day before that. He then goes on to recount how he "was gone" the next day and the administration had collapsed. And while there are many who have weighed in with their opinions on how the US should have handled the situation in Afghanistan, this video sparked outrage for a different reason.
For those living under a rock, the Afghanistan President had been Ashraf Ghani until last week. Hamid Karzai ( we presume that is who Blinken was referring to) is his predecessor, who served as the President of Afghanistan from 22 December 2001 to 29 September 2014. With there having been a grand total of two leaders since the US intervened in Afghanistan and drove back the Taliban two decades ago, many were stunned by the gaffe during an official briefing.
Now, US officials (including its Presidents) are no stranger to mispronunciations and identification gaffes. From former President Donald Trump spelling his own name wrong during a 2019 Twitter rant to Joe Biden seemingly getting the name of the President wrong in March this year (this appears to be a recurring theme) - there is a wide range to choose from. In the previous instance, reports had suggested that the White House had corrected Biden's gaffe after he appeared to mix up the name with controversial former head of Pakistan's military, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. But social media users are especially irked now as the gaffe comes amid increasing outrage over the situation in Afghanistan.
"They were this serious about Afghanistan," read one outraged tweet.
"They are all nitwits," summed up one rather uncharitable post. And while some insisted that it might be "difficult to distinguish" when it came to people from a different ethnicity, most were not having it.
We feel compelled to note here that some did agree with Blinken at least in terms of sentiment. "I would refer to the recent president as Hamid Karsai as well. A president who abandons his country during a crisis is not worthy of being recognized," one user added.