Trump releases 12 statements in five days attacking Biden while whitewashing his own role in Afghanistan withdrawal

Most agree there’s plenty of blame to go around for US mistakes in Afghanistan. Not Donald Trump

Bevan Hurley
In New York
Tuesday 17 August 2021 20:57
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Joe Biden refuses to take questions after Afghanistan statement
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Donald Trump fired off 12 statements in five days attacking President Joe Biden’s handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

At the same time the former president has sought to minimise his own role in the withdrawal, and the Republican National Committee removed a webpage praising his “historic peace agreement” with the Taliban that set the clock ticking on the US withdrawal.

The onslaught began on August 12, when Mr Trump claimed the withdrawal would have been “much more successful” if he were still president.

“I personally had discussions with top Taliban leaders whereby they understood what they are doing now would not have been acceptable,” he said.

The first of Mr Trump’s statements attacking Joe Biden over Afghanistan on August 12

That day the US Government announced it would be sending 3,000 combat troops back into Afghanistan to help evacuate diplomats, civilians and Afghan allies.

The next day he stepped up his criticism of the “tragic mess” in Afghanistan, asking in all caps: “DO YOU MISS ME YET?”

'DO YOU MISS ME YET?’

On Saturday August 14, as Mr Biden authorised the deployment of more troops, and Taliban fighters reached the outskirts of Kabul, Mr Trump issued a 141-word statement, his longest yet.

“This is complete failure through weakness, incompetence, and total strategic incoherence,” he wrote.

‘I established a credible deterrent'

Sunday brought two more statements and a third release sent out on his ‘Save America’ letterhead with a link to a New York Post story saying “President Biden will own the fall of Kabul”.

The statements were peppered with false conspiracy theories that Mr Biden had not been legitimately elected president, allowed the Covid surge, and thrown open the southern border.

‘Resign in disgrace,’ Mr Trump advised President Biden

“It is time for Joe Biden to resign in disgrace,” Mr Trump wrote.

As the chaotic scenes saw thousands of Afghans swarm Hamid Karzai International Airport on Monday, Mr Trump fired off the first of five statements that day.

“Who or what will Joe Biden surrender to next? Someone should ask him, if they can find him.”

That afternoon as President Biden addressed the nation in a defiant defence of his decision to withdraw, and blamed the Trump administration for setting the withdrawal timetable, the 45th President kept up the barrage of attacks.

‘Who can believe such incompetence?'

“It’s not that we left Afghanistan. It’s the grossly incompetent way we left!”

And on Tuesday, Mr Trump continued his running commentary.

"What took place yesterday in Afghanistan made our withdrawal from Vietnam look like child’s play. Perhaps in World history there has never been a withdrawal operation that has been handled so disastrously.”

As the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated, and the blame-game in the US intensified, some military analysts have said every president since George W Bush bears some responsibility for the Taliban takeover.

Mr Trump’s special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, reached an agreement with the Taliban in Doha in February 2020 for the US to withdraw all troops in return for peace talks with the Afghan government and a guarantee the country would not be used as a launching pad for terrorist attacks.

The deal was endorsed by Mr Trump and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and they imposed a deadline of May 1 2021 for all US troops to leave.

Mr Trump approved the release of 400 “hardcore” Taliban prisoners in August 2020, some of the 5,000 fighters let out of Afghan jails as part of the peace process.

Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban’s de facto leader, was released from a Pakistan prison at the request of the US in 2018.

Mr Trump was also accused of abandoning the Kurds after he pulled about 1,000 US troops out of Syria in October 2019.

“The Kurds fought with us, but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so,” Mr Trump said.

The decision led to the slaughter of hundreds of Kurdish fighters who had fought ISIS alongside US troops.

As recently as April Mr Trump was claiming credit for the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“Twenty one years is enough,” Mr Trump said.

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