Washington DC – As Democratic lawmakers in the United States struggling to defend the Biden administration against increasing criticism of the country’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, a new tactic emerges: emphasizes the role of former President Donald Trump.
During a congressional hearing on Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized that President Joe Biden had inherited a Trump agreement with the Taliban stipulating that all US troops would leave Afghanistan by May this year.
The US withdrawal end of August, shortly after the Taliban control taken over of the country, became a crisis for Biden, who experienced widespread condemnation from Republicans and media commentators, as well as asks for his resignation.
Now the president’s supporters in Congress support a defense that focuses on the policies of the previous administration towards the Taliban.
While Republicans slammed Blinken and the current administration during Monday’s trial, Democratic lawmakers focused their questions and remarks on Trump’s talks with the Taliban.
‘We inherited a deadline [for withdrawal]; we did not inherit a plan, ‘Blinken told the Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC). Congressman Brad Sherman, a Democrat in California, replied, ‘No plan; it’s amazing that it was not much, much worse. ”
In February 2020, the Trump administration sign an agreement with the Taliban securing the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Afghanistan and guaranteeing that “Afghan soil will not be used against the security of the United States and its allies”.
The agreement also resulted in the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners as part of a prisoner exchange with the U.S. government, which was not backed by the U.S. government, which did not participate in the talks that led to the agreement.
Biden, who took office in January, later moved the withdrawal date to the end of August.
After the Taliban entered Kabul last month, U.S. forces — still in control of the airport in the capital — began an evacuation operation to oust U.S. citizens, third-country nationals and Afghan allies.
The evacuations were marred by chaos and a suicide bombing 175 people killed, including 13 U.S. service members.
“When President Biden took office in January, he inherited an agreement reached by his predecessor with the Taliban to remove all remaining U.S. troops by May 1 this year,” Blinken told the HFAC on Monday.
‘As part of the agreement, the previous administration urged the Afghan government to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners – including some top war commanders. Meanwhile, it reduced our own presence of power to 2500 troops. ”
Blinken added that Biden had no choice but to finalize the withdrawal or escalate the war and venture attacks on American forces.
But Republicans were furious with the US president, accusing him of leaving Washington’s allies and allowing Afghanistan to become a ‘terrorist haven’.
“The administration’s turbulent exit from Afghanistan is possibly the worst foreign policy disaster in US history,” Republican Steve Chabot told Blinken on Monday. “You have essentially surrendered that country and its people to the good mercy of the Taliban, and the Taliban have no good mercy.”
Chris Smith, another Republican, called on Blinken, while his colleague Brian Mast accused the administration of manipulating intelligence on the prospect of a Taliban takeover after the US withdrawal.
“We do not have to hear lies,” said Mast, a Florida representative, while HFAC Democratic chairman Gregory Meeks reminded Mast that his time was up.
In his own remarks, Meeks notes the Republicans’ criticism of the withdrawal, but also highlights the 2020 agreement negotiated by Trump and his then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
‘I ask where the protest was when the Trump administration overthrew the Afghan government to conclude an agreement with the Taliban? Ask Meeks. ‘And where was this protest when then-President Trump and Secretary Pompeo agreed to withdraw all troops by May 2021?