Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday pushed back on the Biden administration for blaming the Trump administration’s Taliban deal for the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. Pompeo said the Trump administration had a “conditions-based” agreement with the Taliban which was not the same as the plan pursued by President Biden.
MIKE POMPEO: 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. 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.
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. 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. The Taliban rolled it up. They put our military in an incredibly difficult position because they weren’t prepared to defend the conditions and then decided to withdraw when the conditions weren’t right.
President Trump wanted to get all of our folks out. No one disputes that the right thing to do was to get these folks home. But we never found the conditions right to execute what President Biden chose to do. President Trump wanted everyone out from January of 2017. We never found the conditions right to be able to do that. So we withdrew from 15,000 to about 8,600 then to about 4,500, each time along the way thoughtfully making sure that we understood that we had deterrence maintained, that we had an order that we could protect Americans. And we did so every single day.
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