Donald Trump has pinned the blame for the Afghanistan crisis solely on Joe Biden – despite actually playing a key role in instigating the removal of US troops himself last year.
Speaking to his favourite Fox News host, Sean Hannity, Trump said: “Nobody has ever handled a withdrawal worse than Joe Biden. This is the greatest embarrassment in the history of our country.”
The former US president is not alone in hitting out at Biden in the midst of this unfolding disaster in Afghanistan – but he was actually more involved than most.
Trump initiated the withdrawal of troops himself back in February 2020 and negotiated directly with the Taliban to remove the US by May 2021.
He chose to leave the Afghan government out of the talks, in a move which reduced morale in the country and may have contributed to the quick surrender from Afghan troops during the Taliban’s takeover.
Trump added that he had “never had a lot of confidence” in the western-backed Afghan president Ashraf Ghani, who fled overseas on Sunday leaving the Taliban to proclaim victory.
He claimed: “I thought he got away with murder.”
Trump also praised the withdrawal he negotiated with Abdul Ghani Baradar, the co-founder of Taliban and the political leader of the Islamists who was released from prison by the US solely for talks with the Afghan government in 2018.
He claimed they secured a “conditions-based agreement”, and implied this was scuppered by his successor.
Trump told Hannity: “Biden put us in this position.”
KARIM JAAFAR via Getty ImagesThe leader of the Taliban negotiating team Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar looks on the final declaration of the peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban
Trump also took aim at the decision to remove US troops before evacuating US citizens from the war-torn country, claiming the military should have been taken out last.
Biden has briefly addressed Trump’s influence in recent days, telling reporters that he “inherited a deal cut by my predecessor” which “left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001″.
For the most part, Biden has stuck to the blueprint for withdrawal established by Trump, only delaying it by three months, allegedly so the troops were home by the 9/11 anniversary.
Yet, this pause meant the withdrawal occurred during “fighting season”, when the Taliban leave their tribal homelands during the warmer months.
Terror groups may now feel emboldened by the Taliban victory too, and target Americans at home or abroad.
Biden’s apparent lack of empathy towards the displaced Afghans and those who assisted the US has also hurt his reputation and the US’ international relations.
Instead of strengthening ties with allies who warned Biden against withdrawal in Afghanistan, the US President is said to have inadvertently aided Afghan neighbours – Russia, Iran and China.
It was also several days after the fall of Kabul that he finally reached out to prime minister Boris Johnson. Before that, he had reportedly not spoken to another world leader.