Former president Donald Trump blasted his successor Joe Biden on Thursday for putting no conditions on the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and said that a violent Taliban surge in the war-torn country was “not acceptable.”
Trump said the US pullout, which Biden has set for August 31 and which is already all but complete, would have been “a much different and much more successful withdrawal” if he were still president.
For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
It was under Trump that the US brokered a deal with the Taliban in Doha in 2020 that would have seen the US withdraw all its troops by May 2021 in exchange for various security guarantees from the militants.
When Biden took power earlier this year, he pushed back the deadline for the withdrawal and set no conditions for it.
“If I were now president, the world would find that our withdrawal from Afghanistan would be a conditions-based withdrawal,” Trump claimed in a statement.
“I personally had discussions with top Taliban leaders whereby they understood what they are doing now would not have been acceptable,” he said.
“It would have been a much different and much more successful withdrawal, and the Taliban understood that better than anyone,” he said.
Trump, who despite his election loss remains the biggest single force in the opposition Republican party, did not provide any details of what he would have done to halt the advances of the insurgents.
Authorities in Kabul have now effectively lost most of northern and western Afghanistan and are left holding a scattered archipelago of contested cities also dangerously at risk.
Some US officials fear the Taliban could take over Kabul within three months of the August 31 deadline.
The United States signed the agreement with the Taliban in Doha on February 29, 2020, committing to a pullout of US and NATO troops by May 1, 2021, in exchange for security guarantees.
They included a promise by the militants to hold peace talks with the government in Kabul, to not attack the US or its interests, and to not support groups like al-Qaeda in attacking the United States.
In the wake of the agreement the Trump administration sharply cut the number of US forces inside Afghanistan and remained committed to the May 1 deadline, even as the Taliban accelerated its offensive against government security forces following the Doha deal.
Trump’s troop reductions continued after he lost the November election to leave the number at 2,500, along with some 16,000 civilian contractors, still in Afghanistan when Biden took office on January 20.
Biden paused further withdrawal for a review of policy, and in April announced that the pullout would go ahead, pushing the deadline back initially to September 11, 2021, before moving it up again to August 31.
Kabul offers Taliban power-sharing to end violence: SourceAfghan government negotiators in Qatar have offered the Taliban a power-sharing deal in return for an end to fighting in the country, a government ... World News
Germany says will stop aid to Afghanistan if Taliban seizes powerGermany said Thursday that it would stop sending financial support to Afghanistan in the event that the Taliban succeeded in seizing power in the ... World News
Taliban take Afghanistan’s strategic city of Ghazni: OfficialThe Taliban have taken the strategic Afghan city of Ghazni just 150 kilometers (95 miles) from Kabul, a senior lawmaker and the insurgents said ... World News
Turkey still keen to run Kabul airport even as Taliban advances, officials sayTurkey is for now still intent on running and guarding Kabul airport after other foreign troops withdraw from Afghanistan, but is monitoring the ... World News
Taliban could take over Kabul in 90 days: US intelligenceThe Taliban could isolate Afghanistan’s capital Kabul in 30 days and potentially take it over in 90 days, a US defense official told Reuters on ... World News
Afghan officials: Three more provincial capitals fall to TalibanAfghan officials say three more provincial capitals have fallen to the Taliban, putting nine out of the country’s 34 in the insurgents’ hands amid the ... World News
US envoy Khalilzad vows to isolate Taliban globally if they take power by forceA US peace envoy brought a warning to the Taliban on Tuesday that any government that comes to power through force in Afghanistan won’t be recognized ... World News
UN warns of possible war crimes as Taliban advances in AfghanistanThe UN human rights chief Tuesday urged an end to the Taliban offensive on Afghan cities and said her office was receiving reports of possible war ... World News