Trump on Biden’s botched Afghanistan withdrawal: America has been 'humiliated'
Trump on Afghanistan withdrawal, Biden’s leadership
Former President Trump discusses Afghanistan chaos and argues all President Biden had to do was ‘finish’ what his administration had started.
Former President Trump slammed President Biden’s botched U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, telling "Varney & Co." during an exclusive interview on Tuesday that America has been "humiliated."
He argued that "the single worst decision ever made in our country’s history" is for the U.S. "to go to the Middle East."
Trump said that the Biden administration cannot do "a simple withdrawal from a country that we should have never gotten into in the first place."
"The level of incompetence on this withdrawal is even far greater than the level incompetence at the southern border," Trump said, adding that "what’s happened to our country in the last eight months is a disgrace."
He also argued that Biden "owes an apology" to the American people and the world.
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The former president made the comments the morning after the Pentagon announced that all U.S. troops have departed Afghanistan. The final C-17 carrying service members lifted off from the Kabul airport at 3:29 pm U.S. Eastern Time on Monday.
The removal of U.S. troops meets the Aug. 31 deadline the Biden administration agreed to with the Taliban, officially drawing the country's longest-ever conflict to an end.
But the fate of those left behind remains a mystery, with White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirming earlier on Monday that a "small number" of Americans who want to leave remain in the country.
CENTCOM Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie acknowledged, "We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out."
The general added that the ISIS threat to the operation was "very real" until the end, with "overwhelming" U.S. airpower circling overhead in an attempt to prevent further attacks.
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In addition to the people left behind in Kabul, McKenzie said the U.S. also left behind equipment such as the C-RAM (counter-artillery, artillery and mortar) system that was used to shoot down rockets, as well as dozens of armored Humvees and some aircraft.
The general added that the equipment had been disabled and in the end, none of it was mission capable.
Trump argued on Tuesday that leaving that equipment behind is "insane" and "inconceivable," adding that "that equipment will be coming at us for many years."
"We cannot let them [the Taliban] have that equipment," Trump added. "That’s the finest equipment made."
Trump also argued on Tuesday that ending America’s longest war "should have been a positive, but it was a massive negative by anybody who has a brain."
"We were all set to have a victory in terms of getting out and getting out with dignity and you could even say with victory," Trump told host Stuart Varney, stressing that it "was all lined up."
"The Taliban was petrified of us," the former president continued.
He went on to argue that "all" Biden had to do was "take what we did and finish it up and take all the equipment out."
Trump also said Biden should have kept Afghanistan’s Bagram Airfield.
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The U.S. left the airfield after nearly 20 years and announced Friday it had completely vacated its biggest airfield in the country in advance of the final withdrawal.
A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment.
Last week, 11 U.S. Marines, one U.S. Army soldier and a U.S. Navy corpsman died in a suicide bombing outside Hamid Karzai International Airport. The ISIS-K group claimed responsibility for the attack, seeking to disrupt the massive evacuation effort of Americans, Afghan allies and third-party nationals outside the U.S.-held airport.
The Biden administration had attempted to pin the blame for the chaos in Afghanistan on Trump. Biden has repeatedly cited his predecessor in multiple statements and speeches and Trump has issued a flurry of statements, going as far as arguing that it’s time for the president "to resign in disgrace."
Varney noted to Trump that Biden blames him for the situation in Afghanistan. In response Trump said, "Actually, interestingly, he doesn’t because if you look at what he said, he said not one soldier was killed since I signed the deal."
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Biden officials have attempted to make the argument that the administration was handcuffed by an agreement with the Taliban signed by President Trump in Doha, Qatar in February 2020, which included a U.S. pledge to remove troops from Afghanistan.
"I bear responsibility for, fundamentally, all that's happened of late," Biden said Thursday. "But, you know as well as I do that the former president made a deal with the Taliban to get all American forces out of Afghanistan by May 1."
But Biden can go only so far in claiming that agreement boxed him in. It had an escape clause: The U.S. could have withdrawn from the accord if Afghan peace talks failed. They did fail, but Biden chose to stay in the agreement, although he delayed the complete pullout from May to September.
Renegotiating would have been difficult as Biden would have had little leverage. He, like Trump, wanted U.S. troops out of Afghanistan. Pulling out of the agreement might have forced him to send thousands more back in.
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U.S. officials made clear at the time that the agreement was conditions-based and the failure of intra-Afghan peace talks to reach a negotiated settlement would have nullified the requirement to withdraw.
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Trump stressed to Varney on Tuesday that the deal was "conditions-based" and that the Taliban "didn’t fulfill some of those conditions and we bombed the hell out of them."
Biden has reportedly stated publicly that he would have removed all troops from Afghanistan even if Trump had not made the Doha arrangement.
Dozens of retired generals and admirals have called on Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley to resign, accusing them of "negligence" in connection with the troop withdrawal, The New York Post reported on Monday.
Trump responded to the reports on Tuesday saying, "That’s absolutely correct."
"Everybody in our military has been humiliated. Our country has been humiliated by the way they got out," Trump told Varney. "The withdrawal was a disaster."
"That withdrawal was an absolute humiliation of the United States of America," Trump stressed.
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Fox News’ Michael Lee, Adam Shaw, Andrew Mark Miller, Lucas Tomlinson, Jennifer Griffin, Paul Steinhauser and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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