Former Vice President Mike Pence diagnosed the situation in Afghanistan as a reflection of President Joe Biden’s “weaknesses” and called the Taliban’s ascendancy in Kabul the most humiliating foreign policy event since the Iran hostage crisis.
Pence slammed Biden’s “disastrous” strategy in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, saying the Trump administration put the United States on a stable trajectory with a conditions-based deal to withdraw from the country in the spring. However, he said Biden unnecessarily extended the deadline without a coherent plan, leading to disaster.
“America’s endless war was coming to a dignified end, and Bagram Air Base ensured we could conduct counterterrorism missions through the war’s conclusion,” Pence wrote of the Trump administration’s peace deal with the Taliban, which set the U.S. withdrawal date at May 1.
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“But when Mr. Biden became president, he quickly announced that U.S. forces would remain in Afghanistan for an additional four months without a clear reason for doing so,” Pence wrote. “There was no plan to transport the billions of dollars worth of American equipment recently captured by the Taliban, or evacuate the thousands of Americans now scrambling to escape Kabul, or facilitate the regional resettlement of the thousands of Afghan refugees who will now be seeking asylum in the U.S. with little or no vetting. Rather, it seems that the president simply didn’t want to appear to be abiding by the terms of a deal negotiated by his predecessor.”
The Biden administration’s execution of the Afghanistan withdrawal was met with swift condemnation over the weekend — leveled by Republicans, Democrats, and world leaders alike — after the Taliban easily moved into Kabul on Sunday after Afghan security forces largely collapsed, and ousted President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.
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Administration officials, including Biden in a speech on Monday, have asserted that despite the outcome, now was the time for U.S. forces to pull out of the country, where the U.S. military has maintained a presence since 2001.
Still, Biden conceded the fall of Kabul and surrounding areas happened “more quickly than we anticipated,” a result that left thousands of U.S. citizens and Afghan allies stuck in the country.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan asserted Tuesday the administration plans to hold the Taliban to their commitment to allow U.S. forces to evacuate U.S. citizens and others out of the country in the coming days. However, he would not commit to maintaining forces for evacuation beyond the administration’s withdrawal deadline of Aug. 31.
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Tags: News, Mike Pence, Afghanistan, Biden Administration, Foreign Policy, National Security, Joe Biden, Taliban
Original Author: Jeremy Beaman
Original Location: Pence says Taliban takeover of Afghanistan reflects Biden’s ‘weaknesses’