September 17, 2021

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Pompeo dismisses Biden’s blaming of Trump for Taliban takeover – POLITICO

2 min read

Biden said the deal “left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001” and left him with few choices: “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.”

Pompeo, however, pushed back on the suggestion that the deal left the country in a more vulnerable state, saying the Taliban was under control even when the Trump administration had significantly reduced its forces last year.

“It’s worth noting this did not happen on our watch,” Pompeo said.

The Taliban takeover of Kabul will likely be inevitable because the Biden administration refused to adopt a deterrence model — unlike what the Trump administration had done, Pompeo said.

He criticized the current administration for yielding to countries like Iran, Russia and China, which ultimately emboldened the Taliban to attack without any concerns of consequences.

Particularly, Pompeo pointed to the Trump administration’s more aggressive tactics, such as the death of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in an airstrike ordered by Trump in January 2020.

“They have to understand,” Pompeo said, “that there’s an administration with a backbone and a seriousness to execute on the things that matter and protect and defend America.”

“Were I still the secretary of State, with the commander in chief like President Trump, the Taliban would have understood that there were real costs to pay if there were plots against the United States of America,” Pompeo said. “Qassem Soleimani learned that lesson and the Taliban would have learned it as well.”

Pompeo also criticized the Biden administration for prioritizing climate change and critical race theory — two hot-button, culture war issues.

“Weak American leadership always harms American security, so this is in the context of the Biden administration that has basically abandoned the global stage in favor of climate change,” Pompeo said. “They’ve been focused on critical race theory while the embassy is at risk. That didn’t happen during our four years. I do think there’s a real risk here.”

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