Biden’s words haunt him: President said a month ago there’s ‘no circumstance where Americans will be lifted out of the U.S. embassy in Kabul by helicopter’
In the call, members of Congress were briefed by Austin, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the alarming state of affairs in Afghanistan.
Top officials worry that not only were the 20 years the US spent in Afghanistan since 9/11 in vain, but that the Taliban now have access to the modern war equipment and weapons the US provided the Afghan army with, as the 20th anniversary of the ?September 2001 terror attacks on New York, Washington DC and Pennsylvania approach.
The Taliban have taken over vast swathes of Afghanistan in just days, seizing high tech US equipment including Humvees, Black Hawk Helicopters and weaponry – although officials believe much of the technology is too sophisticated for Taliban members to know how to operate.
‘You can’t buy willpower, and you can’t buy leadership,’ Austin allegedly said in the call.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin (pictured) was ‘beyond disappointed’ and said that ‘you can’t buy willpower’ in a call with members of the government today, a source said
Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was also in the call briefing Congress members
Antony Blinken has rejected comparisons between Afghanistan and Saigon, blaming the ‘inability of Afghan security forces’
Republicans are placing the blame on President Biden’s approach. Indiana Representative Jim Banks, who served in Afghanistan, said Biden was ‘sleep at the wheel’ and that his administration had been ‘caught unprepared.’
Biden has also received backlash for retreating to Camp David for the weekend, as the Taliban entered Kabul on Sunday.
‘Why is Joe Biden on vacation? I don’t think he’s taken one question from the press this entire weekend, so this is a frightening situation,’ asked Ohio Representative Jim Jordan.
Subsequently, Biden seemed to blame Trump for setting a May 1 deadline to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, leaving the Taliban ‘in its strongest position since 2001.’
House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer issued an statement drawing attention to the dire circumstances for those who have not been evacuated from Afghanistan.
‘There will be much analysis of our Afghanistan experience, but right now, I am gravely concerned for the safety of our Afghan partners who served side-by-side with our troops, our diplomats, our development professionals, and our partner forces to carry out our mission,’ Hoyer said.
Taliban fighters stormed the ancient palace on Sunday and demanded a ‘peaceful transfer of power’ as Kabul descended into chaos, with US helicopters evacuating diplomats from the embassy.
US-backed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country for Tajikistan, effectively ceding power to the Taliban in a move signaling the end of the 20-year Western intervention begun after the September 11 attacks, while thousands of Afghan nationals rushed to the Pakistan border.
Foreigners in Kabul were told to either leave or register their presence with Taliban administrators, while RAF planes were scrambled to evacuate 6,000 British diplomats, citizens and Afghan translators, and the British Ambassador was moved to a safe place.
The US and French Ambassadors have already been evacuated as the US rushes to rescue more than 10,000 of its citizens.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley told a bipartisan group of senators during a Sunday call that a past assessment of how soon the terrorist groups will reemerge in Afghanistan will drastically speed up due to the events over the last week.
On the call with Milley, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham asked if they will revise the assessment given to Congress in June that classified a ‘medium’ risk of terrorist group reconstituting within two years of withdrawal.
‘Yes,’ Milley responded about changing the threat assessment report, according to Axios.
He also said he would be more than willing to brief senators in a classified setting on the unfolding Afghanistan situation.
The bipartisan group of senators on the call pressed Milley and Austin on efforts to get U.S. personnel out of Afghanistan as images already emerged of a helicopter evacuation from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul – reminiscent of the fall of Saigon.
A source on the call said, according to Axios, that there is no way the U.S. can evacuate the more than 20,000 Afghans who want to escape the country by August 31.
‘Two takeaways for me – We’re gonna leave tens of thousands of people behind… and the timeline in terms of threats has accelerated,’ the source said.
The original reason the U.S. engaged in Afghanistan in 2001 was to prevent terrorist threats to the homeland from the Middle Eastern nation.
It is now feared the power vacuum set to be filled by the Taliban could lead to a resurgence for terror group Al Qaeda, and see further attacks against western targets.
After 20 years, and billions of dollars spent, President Joe Biden’s total troop withdrawal left the region in disarray as the Taliban was able to overtake a majority of Afghanistan in just over a week.
The Islamic militant forces breached the capital city of Kabul on Sunday as the U.S. flag was removed from the embassy there and American citizens were told to shelter in place as gunfire broke out at the airport. Afghani President Ashraf Ghani fled the country as the Taliban entered Kabul.
By Sunday, the Taliban garnered almost complete control by over taking 28 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.
Subsequently, Biden seemed to blame Trump for setting a May 1 deadline to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, leaving the Taliban ‘in its strongest position since 2001’
Biden’s administration came under scrutiny. President Biden spent the weekend at Camp David, as the Taliban entered Kabul on Sunday
‘We should inflict pain on them’: Pompeo issues fiery call for Biden to unleash airstrikes on Taliban surrounding Kabul and says the extremist group would not ‘run wild and free’ if Trump was still in office
- Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed President Joe Biden amid the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan
- ‘I hope they will bring the airpower. They should go crush these Taliban who are surrounding Kabul,’ he said Sunday
- He also suggested that the Taliban would not be running around ‘wild and free’ were Donald Trump still in charge
- Yet, Pompeo together with former President Trump were instrumental in organizing the withdrawal of all US troops from the country
- February 2020 peace deal with the Taliban leading to the withdrawal was signed under former President Donald Trump and spearheaded by Pompeo
- At the time Pompeo suggested the Taliban would become partners with the US to fight terrorism
- Pompeo said it was ‘pathetic blame shifting’ for Biden and White House to point out that they had inherited the peace deal from the Trump administration
- Pompeo argued that Biden had ‘utterly failed’ by withdrawing the U.S. troops
‘We shouldn’t be begging them to spare the lives of Americans, we should be imposing costs on the Taliban until they allow us to execute our plan in Afghanistan.’
Pompeo, who was Secretary of State during the Trump administration, said that the extremist group would not be running around ‘wild and free’ were Trump still in charge.
‘The Taliban are aggressive and they are fearless because we haven’t an administration that has refused to adopt a deterrence model, the one that President Trump and I had.
‘We’re letting the Taliban run free and wild all around Afghanistan. They have to understand that there’s an administration with a backbone and seriousness to execute on the things that matter and protect and defend America.
‘Were I still the Secretary of State or the Commander-in-Chief like President Trump, the Taliban would have understood that there were real costs to pay if there were plots against the United States of America from — the Taliban would have learned it as well.’
Pompeo together with former President Trump were instrumental in organizing the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from the country. Pompeo is pictured during the signing ceremony of a peace agreement between US, Taliban, in Doha, Qatar in February 2020
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani attend the signing of a US-Taliban agreement in the Qatari capital Doha on February 29, 2020
Fox News host Chris Wallace noted prominent military officials and Republicans were highly critical of the deal made under Trump’s and Pompeo’s leadership
During a ten minute interview, Pompeo later defended meeting with Taliban leaders last September, and ultimately giving them a form of ‘legitimacy’.
Host Chris Wallace noted that Pompeo even praised the extremist group at one point.
‘Do you regret giving the Taliban that legitimacy? Do you regret pressing the Afghan government to release 5,000 prisoners, which they did, some of whom are now back on the battlefield fighting with the Taliban?’ Wallace asked.
‘You make peace with your enemies. The statement that I made that day was absolutely true. You can ask the military leaders on the ground. We did good work to crush Al Qaeda. When we left office there were fewer than 200 Al Qaeda left in Afghanistan.’
Wallace pointed out that Biden seemed to placing the majority of blame on the current situation on Trump who left him with the troop withdrawal deal.
‘If the risks weren’t so serious, it would be pathetic,’ Pompeo said. ‘I wouldn’t have let my 10-year old son get away from this kind of pathetic blame-shiftin