Biden and Trump battle over what might have been in Afghanistan

Within the days earlier than the dual explosions rocked the worldwide airport in Kabul and left U.S. service members lifeless, former President Donald Trump and his associates sought to distinguish their deliberate withdrawal from Afghanistan from the one being carried out by President Joe Biden.

“How dare Biden drive our Navy to run off the battlefield in Afghanistan and desert what now have turn out to be many 1000’s of American hostages,” Trump mentioned in a press release by way of his political motion committee earlier this week. “We had Afghanistan and Kabul in excellent management with simply 2,500 troopers and he destroyed it when it was demanded that they flee!”

It was a part of a collection of statements wherein Trump hit Biden on Afghanistan and mentioned he would have dealt with the withdrawal higher, full with forwarding commentary from others calling the Taliban takeover the incumbent president’s “Saigon second.” However U.S. deaths, inflicted by ISIS-Okay , change every part.


Trump’s preliminary public feedback on Thursday have been restrained, expressing condolences and solely not directly chastising Biden.

“This tragedy ought to by no means have been allowed to occur,” he wrote.

He instructed Fox Information host Sean Hannity later that night time, “We might have left with dignity.”

Each Trump and Biden wished to get out of Afghanistan — a uncommon level of settlement between the 2 throughout final yr’s contentious marketing campaign. Trump really sought to have the final troops eliminated in Could, sooner than Biden, and objected to his successor’s preliminary selection of Sept. 11 — the twentieth anniversary of the terrorist assaults that led to the warfare within the first place — because the withdrawal date.

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However because the U.S.-backed authorities in Kabul fell a lot sooner than anticipated and the scenes outdoors the airport grew more and more chaotic, Trump’s criticism intensified.

“This Afghanistan Catastrophe would not have occurred with Trump,” the previous president mentioned. “The Taliban knew I’d rain down hearth and fury if any American personnel or pursuits have been harmed, the likes of which have by no means been seen. It is a disaster of historic proportions.”

Trump claimed he would have eliminated the remaining troops after evacuating U.S. residents and allies and retrieving or destroying U.S. army property in Afghanistan. He’s not alone in that rivalry.

“We all the time knew that situations needed to be proper,” former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a attainable 2024 presidential candidate and a key negotiator of the Trump-Taliban deal, instructed Fox Information. “This administration simply willy-nilly whipped the army out of there, leaving civilians, tools, all of these issues behind.”

Biden and officers within the present administration say that deal tied their fingers, leaving them with too few troops to each defend U.S. pursuits and airlift individuals out, with no choice however to surge further troops into Afghanistan or full the drawdown.

“I bear accountability for, basically, all that is occurred of late,” Biden mentioned in an trade with Fox Information’s Peter Doocy on Thursday. “However this is the deal: — I want you’d in the future say these items — you recognize in addition to I try this the previous president made a take care of the Taliban that he would get all American forces out of Afghanistan by Could 1.”

“President Biden mocked President Trump for slicing a deal that stored U.S. forces protected,” tweeted former Trump administration official Richard Grenell. “He’s been in DC manner too lengthy.”

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“Joe Biden ADMITS that Trump’s deal resulted in NO DEATHS of American troops for greater than a yr,” tweeted former Trump White Home press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

The talk over who misplaced Afghanistan doesn’t simply pit two presidents and events in opposition to one another. It speaks to a serious division inside the Republican Celebration on international coverage forward of the 2024 election.

“Our secretary of state signed a give up settlement with the Taliban,” former Trump nationwide safety adviser H.R. McMaster mentioned of Pompeo in an interview with commentator Bari Weiss. “This collapse goes again to the capitulation settlement of 2020. The Taliban did not defeat us. We defeated ourselves.”

“Trump handled the Taliban,” mentioned Mark Sanford, the previous Republican congressman and governor of South Carolina, earlier than mentioning two distinguished GOP leaders from his residence state. “Now that Biden is president, [former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations] Nikki [Haley] is saying it’s loopy, you shouldn’t do it. [Sen.] Lindsey [Graham] got here out immediately and mentioned the president ought to be impeached.”

“It hurts them each regardless of how laborious Trump tries to distinguish himself from Biden on this situation,” mentioned one Republican operative. Others mocked Trump for referring to ISIS-Okay as “ISIS-X” throughout his Fox Information interview on Thursday night time.


For months, polling has proven deepening bipartisan skepticism concerning the 20-year warfare in Afghanistan, which former President Barack Obama, Trump, and Biden had thought-about ending.

With situations in Afghanistan deteriorating, Trump — who might but be a candidate once more in 2024 — says it didn’t need to be this fashion.

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