Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday blasted President Joe Biden’s administration for shifting blame for the deadly Afghanistan withdrawal on to the previous administration.
After a new report on the withdrawal, released on Thursday by the Biden administration, claimed that options for the withdrawal were “severely constrained by conditions created by” former President Donald Trump, Pompeo defended the Trump administration’s role, Fox News reported.
“This was entirely predictable. We 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.
The new report said the Trump administration “provided no plans for how to conduct the final withdrawal.”
The complete pull-out of U.S. troops from Afghanistan after 20 years of war brought dramatic scenes of Afghans evacuating the country on U.S. planes as the Taliban quickly swept into control. In the chaos, a suicide bomb attack at the airport in Kabul took the lives of 13 U.S. troops and over 100 Afghans, and some evacuees were filmed clinging to the side of a plane and falling as it took off.
Pompeo said he was “outraged by the fact that the 13 Americans that were killed there didn’t have to happen.”
“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.
During a press conference on the new report, National Security Council spokesperson Kirby defended the Kabul airport evacuations as “pretty remarkable,” adding: “For all this talk of chaos, I just didn’t see it. Not from my perch.”
Reacting to that comment, Pompeo said, “For Kirby today to say that he is somehow proud of the way we departed that this wasn’t an unmitigated disaster, we should just all believe our own eyes. … This was chaotic.”
Kirby at the press conference also said it was “ludicrous” to say “that we left millions of dollars of stuff in Afghanistan.” A 2022 Pentagon report found that about $7 billion in U.S. military equipment was left behind, as reported by CNN.
“That stuff belonged to the Afghans,” he said. “We turned it over, as the previous administration would have done too. … It was turned over appropriately and carefully and deliberately with the Afghan National Security Defense Forces.”