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Mike Pence blames Biden in Afghanistan withdrawal fiasco

AT News

KABUL: Former Vice President Mike Pence stated in a Sunday interview with CBS that he believes former President Donald Trump would have maintained a presence of several thousand American troops in Afghanistan despite reaching a deal with the Taliban.

This comes in response to a U.S. State Department recent report which criticized both the Trump and Biden administrations for the mishandled withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in August 2021. The hasty departure resulted in the Taliban regaining power and the unfortunate loss of thirteen U.S. service members.

Pence, in his conversation with CBS anchor Margaret Brennan, absolved the Trump administration of any responsibility for the catastrophe. He mentioned being present when President Trump conveyed a message to the Taliban leader, emphasizing the need for cooperation with the Afghan government, the avoidance of harboring terrorists, and the safety of American soldiers. Pence pointed out that there were no American casualties for 18 months until the tragic incident at the Kabul airport, where thirteen brave American service members lost their lives.

The former vice president squarely placed the blame for the situation on the current commander-in-chief. Pence vowed that under their administration, while the former president intended to withdraw all troops, the breaking of the Taliban deal and their advance into Mazar-e-Sharif, coupled with Biden’s inaction, set in motion the catastrophic events and heartbreaking end to the 20-year conflict in Afghanistan.

When Brennan questioned whether the Trump administration would have kept troops on the ground despite the deal, Pence expressed his belief that it would have been prudent to maintain a presence of a couple thousand American forces to support counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan and the region. He drew a parallel to the former president’s announcement of troop withdrawal from Syria.

The State Department report also revealed that the Biden administration lacked clarity on the coordination of the department’s role in the Afghanistan withdrawal.

The U.S. State Department’s “After Action Review” report highlighted the Trump administration’s insufficient consideration of worst-case scenarios, Trump’s objective to end the military presence, and the alleged absence of plans or efforts to assist at-risk Afghans or maintain diplomats in Kabul post-withdrawal.

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