Politics

Biden Blames Trump For Botched Withdrawal In Speech After Afghanistan Pullout

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President Joe Biden blamed his predecessor, Donald Trump, for the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan in a speech to the nation on Tuesday afternoon.

Biden, starting his speech hours after it was originally scheduled, argued that Trump had left him in a difficult position by negotiating with the Taliban to withdraw from the country by May 1:

My predecessor, the former president, signed an agreement with the Taliban to remove U. S. troops by May 1, just months after I was inaugurated. It included no requirement that the Taliban work out a cooperative government arrangement with the Afghan government [sic]. But it did authorize the release of 5000 prisoners last year, including some of the Taliban’s top war commanders among those who just took control of Afghanistan. And by the time I came to office, the Taliban was in its strongest military position since 2001, controlling or contesting nearly half of the country.

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The previous administration’s agreement said that if we stuck to the May 1 deadline, the Taliban would not attack any American forces. But if we stayed, all bets were off. So we were left with a simple decision: either follow through by the commitment made by the last administration and leave Afghanistan, or say we were not leaving, and commit another tens of thousands of more troops going back to war.

However, Trump and members of his former administration have noted recently that Trump imposed other conditions on the Taliban, and have argued that the Biden administration abandoned Trump’s existing plan for an orderly, secure pullout.

Biden also claimed, falsely, that the agreement Trump struck with the Taliban did not require the Taliban to reach a deal with the government with Afghanistan, but the deal did specifically require the Taliban to enter into such negotiations.

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Biden himself had promised to negotiate with the Taliban during his presidential campaign — and had even promised to leave a small, residual force in the country, a position he attacked during his speech. In a December 2019 debate, he said:

The first thing I would do as president the United States of America is to make sure that we brought… (Read more)

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