What did Donald Trump say about Afghanistan?
Donald Trump has criticised Joe Biden for the “tragic mess” in Afghanistan, saying the new president “gets it wrong every time on foreign policy”.
Trump claimed that Biden should have followed a plan left by his administration.
In a series of statements released through his website, as the former president is still banned from most social networks, Trump severely criticised Joe Biden.
Trump was criticised for asking, “DO YOU MISS ME YET?” in a statement on 13 August, after describing the situation in Afghanistan as a “tragic mess”.
The following day, he put out a lengthy comment on the matter, citing his administration’s plans to withdraw from Afghanistan.
He said: “Joe Biden gets it wrong every time on foreign policy, and many other issues. Everyone knew he couldn’t handle the pressure. Even Obama’s Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, said as much.
“He ran out of Afghanistan instead of following the plan our Administration left for him—a plan that protected our people and our property, and ensured the Taliban would never dream of taking our Embassy or providing a base for new attacks against America.
“The withdrawal would be guided by facts on the ground.
“After I took out ISIS, I established a credible deterrent. That deterrent is now gone. The Taliban no longer has fear or respect for America, or America’s power.
“What a disgrace it will be when the Taliban raises their flag over America’s Embassy in Kabul.
“This is complete failure through weakness, incompetence, and total strategic incoherence.”
Then, on Sunday (15 August), he called for his successor to resign, writing: “It is time for Joe Biden to resign in disgrace for what he has allowed to happen to Afghanistan, along with the tremendous surge in COVID, the Border catastrophe, the destruction of energy independence, and our crippled economy.”
Did Trump agree to have US troops leave Afghanistan?
While he was president, Donald Trump entered into negotiations with the Taliban about withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan.
He initially set the deadline for all troops to be withdrawn for 1 May 2021, though he did consider an earlier withdrawal.
Trump was criticised at the time for including the Taliban in negotiations but not the Afghan government, in a deal which saw thousands of Taliban prisoners exchanged for a promise that the insurgents would no longer target US troops.
The deal was later formalised, with Trump agreeing to withdraw all troops from the region by 1 May, in exchange for a guarantee that the Taliban would not allow groups like Al Qaeda to operate within Afghanistan.
Upon entering office, the Biden administration reviewed the deal and pushed back the withdrawal date to 11 September.
How has Joe Biden responded?
Defending his actions on Afghanistan, President Biden said that he “faced a choice” when he entered, after the deal between the US and Taliban had been negotiated by Trump during his time as president.
He said: “When I came to office, I inherited a deal cut by my predecessor—which he invited the Taliban to discuss at Camp David on the eve of 9/11 of 2019—that left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001 and imposed a May 1, 2021 deadline on U.S. Forces.
“Shortly before he left office, he also drew U.S. Forces down to a bare minimum of 2,500. Therefore, when I became President, I faced a choice—follow through on the deal, with a brief extension to get our Forces and our allies’ Forces out safely, or ramp up our presence and send more American troops to fight once again in another country’s civil conflict.”
He added: “I was the fourth President to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan—two Republicans, two Democrats. I would not, and will not, pass this war onto a fifth.”