Trump Criticises Biden Administration on Afghanistan Withdrawal Delay
Former US President Donald Trump has criticised the Biden administration after it was announced on Wednesday that military withdrawal from Afghanistan would be extended until September.
In a statement on Wednesday, President Joe Biden affirmed:
“US troops, as well as forces deployed by our NATO allies and operational partners, will be out of Afghanistan before we mark the 20th anniversary of that heinous attack on September 11th, 2001. But we’ll not take our eye off the terrorist threat, we’ll reorganise our counter-terrorism capabilities and the substantial assets in the region to prevent the reemergence of terrorists and threat to our homeland from over the horizon. We’ll hold the Taliban accountable for its commitment not to allow any terrorist to threaten the United States or its allies from Afghan soil. The Afghan government has made that commitment to us as well, and we’ll focus our full attention on the threat we face today.”
The extension violates the terms set out in the Doha Agreement, which was negotiated and signed between the Taliban and Trump administration last year. Under the terms of the deal, the US promised to pull all troops out of Afghanistan by May 1st as the Taliban entered into peace talks with the Afghan government and committed to ensuring that Afghanistan would not be used as a staging ground for terrorist attacks.
On Sunday, a statement released by 45office.com, the official office of former President Trump, read:
“I wish Joe Biden wouldn’t use September 11th as the date to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan, for two reasons. First, we can and should get out earlier. Nineteen years is enough, in fact, far too much and way too long. I made early withdraw possible by already pulling much of our billions of dollars of equipment out and, more importantly, reducing our military presence to less than 2,000 troops from the 16,000 level that was there (likewise in Iraq, and zero troops in Syria except for the area where we KEPT THE OIL). Secondly, September 11th represents a very sad event and period for our Country and should remain a day of reflection and remembrance honouring those great souls we lost. 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.”
“No one wants to say that we should be in Afghanistan forever, but they insist now is not the right moment to leave, so when will it be the right moment to leave? One more year? Two more years? Ten more years? We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan hoping to create the ideal conditions for our withdrawal, expecting a different result. I am now the fourth American president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth.”
An extension of US troop presence in Afghanistan is likely to inflame tensions with the Taliban, who have long insisted on the removal of foreign forces from the country. Taliban official Suhail Shaheen told reporters in March:
“We hope [an extension] will not happen, that the [US] withdraws and we focus on the settlement, peaceful settlement of the Afghan issue, in order to bring about a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire at the end of reaching a political roadmap [for] Afghanistan.”
Republican Congresswoman for Wyoming, Liz Cheney, characterised the developments as “a huge propaganda victory” for terrorist organizations:
“Now I'm not sure why the White House has selected [Sept. 11], but I can tell you that that is a huge victory, a huge propaganda victory for the Taliban, for Al-Qaeda. The notion that on the day that they attacked us, we are going to mark that anniversary by withdrawing our forces? Any withdrawal of forces based on a political timeline ... any withdrawal of forces that is not based on conditions on the ground puts American security at risk.”