Washington, DC – As Democrats within the United States scramble to defend the Biden administration towards rising criticism for the nation’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, a brand new tactic is rising: highlighting former President Donald Trump’s position.
At a congressional listening to on Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken pressured that President Joe Biden inherited a Trump settlement with the Taliban that stipulated that every one US troops would go away Afghanistan by May of this 12 months.
The US withdrawal on the finish of August, shortly after the Taliban took management of the nation, became a disaster for Biden, who confronted widespread condemnation from Republicans and media commentators, in addition to requires his resignation.
Now the president’s supporters in Congress are mounting a defence centered on the earlier administration’s insurance policies in direction of the Taliban.
While Republicans lambasted Blinken and the present administration in Monday’s listening to, Democratic legislators centered their questions and remarks on Trump’s talks with the Taliban.
“We inherited a deadline [for withdrawal]; we did not inherit a plan,” Blinken informed the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC). Congressman Brad Sherman, a California Democrat, responded: “So no plan at all; it’s amazing that it wasn’t much, much worse.”
In February 2020, the Trump administration signed a deal with the Taliban that will make sure the withdrawal of all overseas forces from Afghanistan and assure that “Afghan soil will not be used against the security of the United States and its allies”.
The settlement additionally led to the discharge of 5,000 Taliban detainees as a part of a prisoner trade with the US-backed Afghan authorities, which didn’t participate within the talks that led to the settlement.
Biden, who took workplace in January, later pushed the withdrawal deadline to the tip of August.
After the Taliban entered Kabul final month, US forces – nonetheless answerable for the airport within the capital – commenced an evacuation operation to airlift American residents, third-country nationals and Afghan allies overseas.
The evacuations have been marred by scenes of chaos and a suicide bombing that killed 175 folks, together with 13 US service members.
“When President Biden took office in January, he inherited an agreement that his predecessor had reached with the Taliban to remove all remaining US troops by May 1 of this year,” Blinken informed the HFAC on Monday.
“As part of that agreement, the previous Administration pressed the Afghan government to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners – including some top war commanders. Meanwhile, it reduced our own force presence to 2,500 troops.”
Blinken added that Biden had no selection however to finalise the withdrawal or escalate the conflict and danger assaults towards US forces.
But Republicans have been livid with the US president, accusing him of abandoning Washington’s allies and permitting Afghanistan to change into a “haven for terrorists”.
“The administration’s bungled pull out from Afghanistan just may be the worst foreign affairs disaster in American history,” Republican Steve Chabot informed Blinken on Monday. “You’ve essentially surrendered that country and its people to the good graces of the Taliban, and the Taliban doesn’t have good graces.”
Chris Smith, one other Republican, known as on Blinken to step down, whereas his colleague Brian Mast accused the administration of manipulating the intelligence concerning the prospect of a Taliban takeover after the US withdrawal.
“We don’t need to hear lies,” stated Mast, a Florida consultant, as Gregory Meeks, the Democratic chair of the HFAC, reminded Mast that his time had expired.
In his personal remarks, Meeks famous the Republicans’ criticism of the withdrawal, but additionally highlighted the 2020 deal negotiated by Trump and his then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“I ask where was this protest when the Trump administration sidelined the Afghan government in order to cut a deal with the Taliban?” Meeks requested. “And where was this protest when then-President Trump and Secretary Pompeo agreed to withdraw all troops by May 2021?”