Trump calls on Biden to ‘resign in disgrace’ over unfolding crisis in Afghanistan

Former president says withdrawal is ‘the most embarrassing military outcome in the history of the United States’ –overlooking his own role in it

Anuj Pant
Monday 16 August 2021 16:19
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Related video: Crowds scale jet bridge at Kabul airport in desperate bid to escape Taliban

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President Joe Biden should resign “in disgrace” over the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and throwing the country into chaos as the Taliban grabbed power, Donald Trump said.

Taliban insurgents took over the capital of Kabul on Sunday from the western-backed government, nearly 90 days ahead of a schedule estimated by the US.

Mr Biden and other top US officials have been left stunned by the Taliban’s almost-complete takeover of Afghanistan. The US has prioritised the evacuation of its citizens from the country.

“It is time for Joe Biden to resign in disgrace for what he has allowed to happen to Afghanistan,” Mr Trump said in the statement, in which he also sought to resurrect claims over the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

“It shouldn’t be a big deal, because he wasn’t elected legitimately in the first place,” the former president said, repeating his false claim that Mr Biden was not legitimately elected. Even Mr Trump’s own attorney general, Bill Barr, conceded that there was no mass voter fraud on a scale that could impact the results of the election.

Mr Trump also dubbed the withdrawal of the troops as “one of the greatest defeats in American history.”

“What Joe Biden has done with Afghanistan is legendary. It will go down as one of the greatest defeats in American history!” he said in the statement.

However, Mr Trump himself was long a proponent of the drawdown in Afghanistan. In an April statement, Mr Trump said: "Getting out of Afghanistan is a wonderful and positive thing to do. I planned to withdraw on May 1st, and we should keep as close to that schedule as possible.”

Mr Trump said in the same statement that the US had been in Afghanistan for too long and bragged that he had made “early withdrawal possible”.

On Monday morning his spokeswoman Liz Harrington tweeted a short statement by the former president attacking the withdrawal – but conveniently overlooking his own role in setting it up. Mr Trump is banned from tweeting himself following the 6 January attack on the Capitol by supporters trying to overturn the election result, so he relies on others to tweet his statements for him.

He wrote: “Afghanistan is the most embarrassing military outcome in the history of the United States. It didn’t have to be that way!”

Top officials in the US have said they were caught off guard with the Taliban’s rapid advancement.

“We’ve seen that that force has been unable to defend the country, and that has happened more quickly than we anticipated,” secretary of state Antony Blinken told CNN, referring to the Afghan military, whose rank and file have reportedly faded against the Taliban’s onslaught.

The decision to withdraw US troops from Afghan soil was taken by Mr Trump’s administration last year after a deal was brokered to withdraw all its troops by May 2021 in exchange for security guarantees.

Mr Biden, however, set an August 31 deadline for total withdrawal after two decades of war in the region.

He defended his decision on Saturday and attacked Mr Trump for making a deal with the Taliban that left them “in the strongest position militarily since 2001.”

“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,” Mr Biden said in the statement.

Democrats and Republicans have both expressed concern over the withdrawal.

“It’s a very dire situation when you see the United States Embassy being evacuated. In fact you just had President Biden a few days ago saying you wouldn’t see helicopters evacuating the embassy like Saigon, and yet here we are,” said Republican congressman and house minority whip Steve Scalise.

“This is President Biden’s Saigon moment and unfortunately it was very predictable,” he added, referring to the US’s evacuation efforts at the end of the Vietnam war 50 years ago.

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