Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized the Biden administration’s withdrawal plan in Afghanistan on Friday, saying the administration showed weakness while rejecting its claims that former President Donald Trump’s deal with the Taliban ignited the current crisis.
During an appearance on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom,” Pompeo argued that the arrangement between the Taliban and the Trump administration had no bearing on the chaos that has occurred in Afghanistan. He also touted the Trump administration’s “conditions-based” agreement with the Taliban, which was in stark contrast to the actions taken by President Joe Biden.
“We were clear with the Taliban that we had this understanding — but you were going to live up to it. And we had a conditions-based withdrawal plan and we executed that,” Pompeo told hosts Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino. “We were down from about 15,000 to a little over 2,500. And for the last 13 months of our administration, we didn’t have a single American attacked or a single American killed.” (RELATED: ‘We Rely On Stupid People’: Trump Blasts Bolton, McMaster Over Afghanistan)
The Biden administration has been bombarded with criticism over the fact that the Taliban regained power very quickly. ISIS-K attack on Kabul airport Thursday that left 13 U.S. troops dead, sparking chaos and more criticism of the administration’s handling of the withdrawal.
We were prepared to maintain our deterrence posture – that is the capacity to inflict costs while we were delivering our president’s objective to get our kids home.
— Mike Pompeo (@mikepompeo) August 27, 2021
Pompeo highlighted the differences in strategies by the Trump administration compared to that of the Biden administration.
“It wasn’t because of the piece of paper, that was the set of understandings. It was because the Taliban understood that if they acted against Americans and took on actions that were inconsistent with what they had promised to do, we’d respond and we did,” Pompeo said. “We did it multiple times. When they pushed on us and the Trump administration, we responded with American power and American might, and we made clear to the Taliban that deterrence was going to be maintained. The difference was when the Biden administration came in, when the Taliban pushed, they withdrew. They showed weakness.”
Pompeo’s statements came as President Joe Biden offered a bifurcated response to mounting criticism. Biden first accepted responsibility but then immediately blamed former President Donald Trump.
“I bear responsibility for fundamentally all that’s happened, of late,” Biden said. “But here’s the deal … a former president made a deal with the Taliban; that he would get all American forces out of Afghanistan by May 1 . In return he was given a commitment that the Taliban would continue to attack others but would not attack any American forces,” Biden told Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy.
Former Vice President Pence also lashed out at the Biden administration, alleging that they broke the deal by the Trump administration.
“In February 2020, the Trump administration reached an agreement that required the Taliban to end all attacks on U.S. military personnel, to refuse terrorists safe harbor, and to negotiate with Afghan leaders on creating a new government. As long as these conditions were met, the U.S. would conduct a gradual and orderly withdrawal of military forces,” the former vice president explained.
“Weakness arouses evil—and the magnitude of evil now rising in Afghanistan speaks volumes about the weaknesses of Mr. Biden. To limit the carnage, the president has ordered more troops to Afghanistan, tripling our military presence amid a supposed withdrawal,” Pence said.