‘This is crazy, this is craziness on stilts’: Pompeo rails against bribing Taliban to behave with US money

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joined “Fox & Friends” on Monday to discuss the Biden administration’s strategy, or lack thereof, in the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Specifically, Pompeo addressed reports that the Biden administration would be willing to pay ransoms to get Americans out of Afghanistan, a move that he called “ludicrous”.

“This is crazy, this is craziness on stilts. This is built on an understanding that somehow these folks are going to behave in a way that’s consistent with the other nations that we recognize. There is no evidence of this, and so I’ve been surprised to hear them talk about the Taliban caring about international recognition, I never saw that,” Pompeo criticized.

“I think [the Taliban] cared about the singular thing, creating power to themselves. I hope this administration is not prepared to pay them the same way they paid the Iranians before. I hope that because it didn’t work. Iran continues to be the host, the headquarters for al-Qaeda. This idea that we’re going to use American money to bribe the Taliban to behave is something that is absolutely ludicrous,” the former secretary of state said.

(Source: Fox News)

Pompeo highlighted differences between the Trump administration’s plan for withdrawal and the Biden administration’s catastrophic approach. He noted that former President Trump’s plan always included an orderly, conditions-based withdrawal that, most importantly, got the “sequencing” right.

“[Our plan] would have certainly included making sure we got the sequencing right, the sequencing on Bagram right, the sequencing on Americans versus military, and of course, it included the central thesis that we were going to get every American out. President Trump wanted to make sure we didn’t leave behind $80 billion in equipment as well. We were determined to get all the Americans out, to make sure…that we were never threatened by our equipment,” Pompeo emphasized.

The former secretary of state and West Point graduate called it a “sad day,” saying that there will be many Americans who remain stuck in Afghanistan.

Pompeo said he is confident that central Asian countries to the north would be willing to help the Biden administration get Americans out. He hopes the administration has been working that angle and will accept the help of non-government agencies who want to get Americans out.

“We know full well the plan that [the Trump] administration had and we executed it with success for an awfully long time. We negotiated with the Afghan government, we negotiated czars, we were talking to every Afghan. We delivered the last year of our administration with not a single American killed, not a single American even attacked by the Taliban. We had a plan, it was conditions-based, we didn’t get the last soldiers out of there, we still had work to do, we had to get the conditions right,” Pompeo said in defense of the Trump strategy.

“President Biden came in, made the choice to sequence the evacuation the way that he did and you can see the tragedy that has ensued. I watched the video yesterday from Dover Air Force Base– it’s a somber day. I’m praying for the family members of those 13 and I am praying for those Americans still stuck in Afghanistan,” he said.

Pompeo emphasized the importance of leading from a position of strength and power in foreign affairs.

“I’ve heard people talk about leverage after our departure. It’s our presence that provided the leverage. When we’re gone, that leverage is greatly diminished. We probably have some capacity that they are leaving behind the way that we were thinking about doing, but their leverage to convince the Taliban to do anything is diminished greatly. Our [Trump administration’s] leverage with the Taliban was always really straightforward. If you don’t do what we want, we’re going to impose consequences,” he said.

Pompeo shared his hope that the Biden administration has learned that to get this right, they should have focused on security and American leadership, not climate change discussions and not discussions about diversity and inclusion in order to deliver the best outcomes to the American people.

“When you don’t do that, when you demonstrate weakness, you see precisely what we saw yesterday at Dover. I hope that that’s the lesson that’s taken away from this,” Pompeo said.

Kay Apfel

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