(USA Features) Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo once again ripped President Joe Biden and his administration after they blamed the Trump White House for the current evacuation mess in Afghanistan.
“It is nonsense,” Pompeo told the National Review of the criticism this week. “It is, in fact, nonsense on stilts.”
The former CIA director and lawmaker also hammered Biden for incorrectly defining a conditions-based agreement that he and former President Donald Trump worked out with Taliban negotiators for withdrawing U.S. troops from the country after 20 years.
“We knew this was going to take many, many months,” Pompeo said of the withdrawal.
“Constantly trying to convince the Afghans that they were going to have to take down the temperature on their civil war,” Pompeo told the outlet.
“That they were going to have to find a modus vivendi for power-sharing amongst the different tribes and ethnicities,” he continued.
“This is a millennial project. I was under no illusion that this would happen on my watch.”
In February 2020 Pompeo signed an agreement with the Taliban that established a withdrawal timeline culminating in a May 2021 total pullout, but only providing the militant group met certain conditions to include making a clean break from the al Qaeda terrorist group.
Biden has been claiming that his hands were tied by that deal, though he has not been bound by any other Trump-era policies and agreements.
He has said that he either could have met the May 2021 deadline or have been forced to put more troops into the country when Taliban fighters inevitably began to hunt and attack Americans left behind, according to the National Review.
“I don’t know what planet he’s on,” Pompeo told the outlet, going on to point out that the Taliban never increased their attacks even after Biden missed the May 2021 deadline to withdraw.
“[Biden] says there was an unconditional commitment to leave in May. That’s simply not true. Read the document,” Pompeo said.
“What we would have done is we would have continued to apply pressure,” Pompeo said of his and Trump’s approach.
Biden administration officials and some Democrats have said it was always naive of the former administration to believe that the Taliban would renounce al Qaeda And former CIA counter-terrorism chief Doug London noted that Pompeo looked askance at politically inconvenient intelligence reports predicting what is currently happening in Afghanistan.
But Pompeo pushed back and said he was fully aware of all intelligence reports that al Qaeda elements were very involved and engaged in Afghanistan when he signed the agreement in Doha last year.
“I never believed a thing they said,” Pompeo said of the Taliban’s pledge to break away from al-Qaida. “It was a condition.”
He also pushed back on former Trump administration officials-turned-critics like retired three-star Army Gen. H.R. McMaster, Trump’s second national security adviser, who said that the previous administration signed a “capitulation agreement” guaranteeing Afghanistan’s collapse back into Taliban hands.
“We went from 15,000 troops to 2,500 troops and we still had order in Afghanistan,” he told the National Review.
“There’s almost triple that number of American forces on the ground now and there’s complete chaos. So when someone asks ‘could you have maintained this?’ My response is ‘for six months after the agreement was signed we didn’t get a single American killed. We didn’t have a single Taliban attack on an American,'” he added.