Former secretary of state under President Trump Mike Pompeo fired back at claims from the Biden administration that Trump constrained the conditions of the U.S. pullout from Afghanistan, during which 13 American soldiers died in a suicide bombing while protecting the Kabul airport, and untold numbers of Americans and Afghans eligible for evacuation were stranded.
The White House on Thursday released its review of President Biden’s fumbled 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan while Trump’s indictment continues to dominate the headlines. The 12-page outline called the overall decision to end the 20-year war the right thing for America, but declined to acknowledge any mistakes made by Biden while instead repeatedly criticizing Trump’s administration.
Rear Adm. John Kirby, the National Security Council spokesman, said Thursday it was always Biden’s intent to end the war, but at the same time “undeniable that decisions made and the lack of planning done by the previous administration significantly limited options available to him.”
Mike Pompeo, who also served as CIA director under Trump, said he wasn’t surprised by Kirby’s tact, saying President Biden and members of his administration routinely blame anyone but themselves for their own multiple failures.
“I am outraged by the fact that the 13 Americans that were killed there didn’t have to happen. And President Biden made the political decision to announce the date of withdrawal, to publicize it, and then to withdraw – in spite of the fact that the military clearly had told him that was a likely outcome. I don’t know what they’re talking about,” he said on “The Story.”
Pompeo said Kirby failed to understand that former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was a “corrupt scoundrel” who was likely to flee and destabilize the country’s government, and that ceding Bagram Air Base would be a geopolitical catastrophe with long term, far-reaching consequences.
“This was entirely predictable. We (the Trump administration) didn’t constrain them at all. The Biden administration has demonstrated their willingness to break up good plans that the Trump administration had,” Pompeo said, pointing to Biden’s continued deconstruction of Trump’s border security policies and his about-face on the Trump-era tactics used to “deter” Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“It is outrageous what Kirby said today. And this report is based upon things that are just simply not true,” Pompeo said.
On “The Story,” anchor Trace Gallagher reported Kirby also defended the physical evacuation itself, boasting aircraft were departing Hamid Karzai International Airport every 48 minutes with Americans and Afghans aboard.
Gallagher pointed out those same aircraft had terrified Afghans clinging to the fuselage as they took off, facing certain death.
“The American people and every veteran who served there should be incredibly proud of our 20 years of work there. We saved American lives,” Pompeo replied. “But for Kirby today to say that he’s somehow proud of the way we departed, that this wasn’t an unmitigated disaster … we should just all believe our own eyes.”
He said Biden’s team “sabotaged” Trump’s “conditions-based” plans, and that due to the ensuing ineptitude, America’s global standing is diminished.
Trump himself has defended his actions in office late in the Afghan withdrawal timeline, previously riffing that he cryptically warned Taliban leader Abdul Baradar not to defy or sabotage his plans.
Trump told Fox News in September that Baradar once asked him why Trump sent him a photo of his home in Afghanistan.
“I said ‘you’ll have to figure that one out’,” Trump told Sean Hannity at the time.
“I understand, Your Excellency,” Trump recalled Baradar responding, further riffing his successor Biden has likely never been referred to with that honorific during such negotiation.