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President Joe Biden’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan has been a devastating failure, and according to Trump-era Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the reason why is clear: Because of the president’s incompetence and poor decision-making.
But according to Obama-era U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker, the blame rests with former President Donald Trump who hasn’t been president now for over 200 days.
Pompeo made his case during an appearance Thursday evening on Fox News’s “The Story” where he argued that the Trump administration had established “deterrence” protocols to ensure that the Taliban continued to behave once the withdrawal actually began.
But, he continued, it appears as if Biden has either chosen to abandon these protocols — just as he’s chosen to abandon virtually every single other successful Trump-era policy — or he’s simply been unable to execute them competently.
(Video: Fox News)
“Looks like this was poor planning, poor leadership and that the model of deterrence that the Trump administration had in place as we prepared to bring the soldiers, sailors, Marines, everybody who’s on the ground there home — looks like they have not been able to execute this,” Pompeo stated.
“Big strategy depends on planning and execution. Looks like there’s a bit of panic. I hope that they have the right number of folks and they can get them there quickly. I hope we can protect Americans in the way the Trump administration had every intention of doing as we drew down our forces there,” he added.
Meanwhile, the situation in Afghanistan under Biden has grown so dire that the administration has reportedly taken to begging the Taliban for leniency by offering it foreign aid.
“American negotiators are trying to extract assurances from the Taliban that they will not attack the U.S. Embassy in Kabul if the extremist group takes over the country’s government and ever wants to receive foreign aid,” The New York Times confirmed Thursday.
Biden begging terrorists to go easy on a U.S. Embassy: pic.twitter.com/bZtWVIaELW
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) August 12, 2021
According to Pompeo, the Trump administration would have never tolerated any disrespect from the Islamist group.
“We had conditions attached to how we were thinking about this withdrawal. I was part of those negotiations. I was also in the room when President Trump made very clear to … the senior Taliban negotiator that if you threaten an American, if you scared an American, certainly if you hurt an American, we would bring all American power to bear to make sure that we went to your village, to your house,” he revealed.
“We were very clear about the things that we were prepared to do to protect American lives. And indeed, since we began those negotiations back in February, 2020, there wasn’t a single American killed by the Taliban. We had established a deterrence model. I hope we haven’t lost that for the Americans who’re still on the ground there in Kabul,” he added.
The problem is that deterrence requires the sort of “capabilities, credibility and communication” skills that the Biden administration appears to lack.
Deterrence takes capabilities, credibility, and communication. We need policies and demonstrated capabilities to deter the Taliban from allowing transnational terrorism projection from any territory it controls.
— Steve Metz (@steven_metz) April 18, 2021
Pompeo continued by stressing that the withdrawal itself isn’t the problem, as evidenced by the Trump administration successfully beginning the process last year with no problems. At issue, he noted, is the Biden administration’s inability to execute the steps already laid out for it.
“We had [already] begun the reduction of our operations in that embassy. I ordered a drawdown in the embassy in Kabul that took place. We were continuing to reduce our risk and our footprint there,” he said.
Had the Biden administration simply followed its predecessor’s steps, perhaps the situation on the ground in Afghanistan would look different now.
However, Crocker, the Obama-era U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, views things differently. Speaking on CNN later Thursday evening, he maintained that the withdrawal itself is the issue — and that because it was Trump’s idea, he bears ultimate responsibility for what’s currently happening.
“We bear a major responsibility for this. It began under President Trump, when he authorized negotiations between the U.S. and the Taliban without the Afghan government in the room. That was a key Taliban demand. We acceded to it. And it was a huge demoralizing factor for the Afghan government and its security forces,” he said.
“We pressed them to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners. Eventually they did it and watched them go back into the fight against the people who released them. So this is a year and a half worth of demoralization. And now, this abrupt withdrawal on our part, I think solidifies it,” he added.
Congressional Republicans like House Armed Services Committee ranking member Mike Rogers vehemently disagree. As far as he’s concerned, the situation in Afghanistan is Biden’s — not Trump’s — “Saigon moment.”
“For months, I have pressed President Biden for a plan to avoid the very situation that is now happening in Afghanistan. Now, American lives are at risk because President Biden still doesn’t have a plan,” the congressman said in a statement Thursday.
“Weeks ago, President Biden promised the American people that we would not have a Saigon moment in Afghanistan. Now, we are watching President Biden’s Saigon moment unfold before us,” he added.
Ranking Member @RepMikeRogersAL: “For months, I have pressed President Biden for a plan to avoid the very situation that is now happening in Afghanistan.
We are watching President Biden’s Saigon moment unfold before us.
Mr. President, where is the plan?”https://t.co/UuDhq9ZRvq pic.twitter.com/bqpr3IW8gi
— Armed Services (@HASCRepublicans) August 12, 2021
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