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Tag: trump afghanistan

VIDEO: Watch Angy Mike Pompeo Flip And Flop On Taliban

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

With the Taliban now in control of Afghanistan, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is vehemently criticizing President Joe Biden for withdrawing U.S. troops from that country — neglecting to mention that Biden was essentially following the plan that Pompeo and former President Donald Trump came up with in 2020. MSNBC's Mehdi Hasan, in response, has posted a video showing how badly Pompeo is now contradicting what he had to say about Afghanistan and the Taliban last year.

Some right-wing Republicans have at least been consistent in their views on Afghanistan. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and former National Security John Bolton have been slamming the Trump/Pompeo plan for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan as badly flawed and saying that Biden and his advisers were wrong to go along with it. But Pompeo, as Hasan's video demonstrates, is now contradicting much of what he had to say in 2020.

The video shows Pompeo, in 2020, praising "the senior Taliban leadership" for "working diligently to reduce violence," followed by the Pompeo of 2021 saying of the Taliban, "These are butchers…. These are evil people" and telling Fox News' Chris Wallace, "We never trusted the Taliban."

Pompeo is seen in 2020 saying with confidence, "There are a series of commitments the Taliban have made. We have every expectation they will follow through on them." And Pompeo, in 2020, expressed confidence that the Taliban would "break" their "relationship" with al-Qaeda and "work alongside" the United States "to destroy, deny resources to and have al-Qaeda depart from that place." But in a 2021 clip included in Hasan's video, Pompeo complains, "We have allowed al-Qaeda to run free and wild all around Afghanistan."

The video ends on a mocking note with a clip of Pompeo angrily saying, "No, I'm not defensive at all."

Here are some responses to Hasan's video:

Casualties Surged In Afghanistan Under Trump, But Nobody Urged Him To Resign

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Multiple Republican members of Congress have called on President Joe Biden to resign or be impeached after ISIS carried out a terror attack in Afghanistan on Thursday that killed 13 American troops and more than 150 Afghan citizens.

But Republican lawmakers never called on former President Donald Trump to resign or face impeachment for his record in Afghanistan, even with a dramatic increase in Afghan civilian deaths during his term and the deaths of 63 troops from 2017 to 2020, according to a count from the Defense Department.

The GOP lawmakers calling for Biden to face consequences for the attack are some of Trump's biggest supporters on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is circulating an article of impeachment against Biden, tweeting Friday morning: "Biden and all key decision makers are responsible for the deaths of 13 soldiers. The Taliban allowed the ISIS attacks. US officials gave them a kill list. And we have not retaliated? There should be harsh punishment against the Taliban and ISIS-K. And we must #ImpeachBiden!"

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) said he co-sponsored the article of impeachment against Biden that Greene is circulating, adding in a statement, "The President promised to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, but it is evident the President has failed to fulfill this charge."

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) also called for Biden's resignation, tweetingThursday afternoon, "To say that today's loss of American lives in Kabul is sickening does not begin to do justice to what has happened. It is enraging. And Joe Biden is responsible. It is now clear beyond all doubt that he has neither the capacity nor the will to lead. He must resign."

Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) — who is running in a crowded GOP primary for Missouri's open Senate seat —called on Biden to resign over the attack as well.

"President Biden must resign," she tweeted Friday morning. "His standing in America, and the world, is forever diminished. It is time he realize this and acknowledge our recovery begins with his resignation as president. It is the right thing to do."

Hawley and Duncan had supported Trump's Afghanistan withdrawal plan and pushed Biden to follow through with it — only to now call on Biden to resign.

While Thursday was the deadliest single day of the war in Afghanistan since 2011, according to the New York Times, American troops have died in the conflict every year since it began nearly 20 years ago.

In 2020, for example, 11 American troops were killed in the war, while 23 died in 2019, according to Defense Department data.

Republicans never called on Trump to resign for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic either. By the time he left office, 400,000 people had died in the United States from COVID-19.

Biden expressed deep remorse for the deaths of the American troops who died trying to evacuate American citizens and Afghan allies who helped the United States during the 20-year conflict.

"These American service members who gave their lives — it's an overused word, but it's totally appropriate — they were heroes," Biden said in remarks from the White House Thursday evening. "Heroes who have been engaged in a dangerous, selfless mission to save the lives of others."

He vowed retribution against the terrorists whose attack killed the troops and Afghans who were trying to leave the country.

"To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay," Biden said. "I will defend our interests and our people with every measure at my command."

More than 110,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan since late July, according to a White House official. The vast majority — or 105,000 — have been evacuated since August 14.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Billionaire Ex-Blackwater Boss Exploiting Chaos And Misery In Kabul

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

With Afghanistan having fallen to the Taliban and countless Afghans desperately trying to leave the country, former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince has found a way to profit from the crisis, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The paper's Dion Nissenbaum reports, "Mr. Prince, whose Blackwater guards were convicted of killing civilians in 2014 while providing security for Americans during the Iraq War, said he was charging each passenger $6500 to get them safely into the airport and on a plane, and it would cost extra to get people who have been trapped in their homes to the airport. It remained unclear whether Mr. Prince had the wherewithal to carry out his plans."

Prince is the brother of Betsy DeVos, former secretary of education in the Trump Administration. When Donald Trump was president, Prince had an idea for getting U.S. troops out of Afghanistan: replacing them with a private security force. But that idea fell through.

Warren Binford, a University of Colorado law professor who has been helping with evacuation efforts in Afghanistan, told the Journal, "It's total chaos. What's happening is that we're seeing a massive underground railroad operation where, instead of running for decades, it's literally running for a matter of hours, or days."

The United States' 20-year war in Afghanistan started in 2001 following al-Qaeda's 9/11 terrorist attacks and has existed under four U.S. presidents: George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and now, Joe Biden. Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo worked out an agreement with the Taliban for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, and Biden followed through on the Trump/Pompeo agreement — although at a slower pace.

Mother Jones' Inae Oh, reporting on Prince's Afghanistan activities, reports, "Prince's plans to capitalize on tragedy come amid a broader effort by aid organizations to rescue as many people as possible as the U.S. struggles to process visas and evacuate both Americans still in the country and the tens of thousands of Afghans who worked from the U.S. government over the past 20 years of war…. Prince kept busy in recent years by overseeing operations to spy on so-called Trump enemies in government while misleading Congress in the Russia investigation. Now he's back, scrambling to make one last buck from the crisis in Afghanistan."

Trump, The Taliban, And The Fall Of Kabul

When we last heard from the Taliban ten months ago, they had an urgent message addressed to the American people. In early October 2020, the same Taliban official now appearing on screens everywhere as their official spokesman took the highly unusual step of endorsing a candidate for president of the United States.

Their man was then-President Donald J. Trump.

"We hope he will win the election and wind up the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan," said Zabihullah Mujahid during an October 10 interview with CBS News.

If not quite equal to North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un's "love letters," their endorsement radiated warmth. The Taliban spokesman predicted Trump "is going to win the upcoming election because he has proved himself a politician who accomplished all the major promises he had made to American people."

The endorsement gleefully insulted American democracy, too. Trump, crowed the Taliban, was the man who "could control the situation inside the country," meaning our country. Trump, it emphasized, was the kind of leader that the Taliban admires.

Trump, who disdained wearing masks and social distancing, had fallen ill with Covid-19, and the Taliban leadership expressed their sympathy and concern. "When we heard about Trump being COVID-19 positive, we got worried for his health," another Taliban official told CBS, "but seems he is getting better."

Perhaps the Taliban chiefs were then still hoping for an invitation to Camp David, a prize the American president dangled in 2019. Their peculiar affinity has not received the attention that Trump's bizarre infatuation with the North Korean dictator did. Of course, from gay rights to the subjugation of women, the Taliban share certain fundamentalist superstitions with the Republicans.

But the immediate occasion for the Taliban endorsement was Trump's announcement that he expected to withdraw the last U.S. troops before the New Year. "We should have the small remaining number of our brave men and women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas," Trump tweeted on October 9. His endorsement by the Taliban came the very next day.

The Trump administration's impulsive, often idiotic approach to national security served our Islamist adversaries very well. Among other things, Trump forced the release from prison of over 5,000 Taliban fighters — including the commanders who ultimately led the takeover of Kabul.

Imagine the horror show on the ground in Afghanistan if the U.S. government had tried to fulfill Trump's pledge to pull every American out by Christmas. Or even by last May, the date ultimately negotiated but pushed back four months by the Biden administration, which came into office without any idea what Trump was doing because he denied access to crucial information during the transition. Meanwhile, at Trump's instigation the Republicans were busily spreading lies about the election and plotting an insurrection at home.

So while congressional Republicans and right-wing pundits work themselves up into a lather over the collapse of the Afghan regime and ensuing chaos, we can put their sudden indignation into perspective. Very few have any standing to criticize Biden after silently passing over Trump's withdrawal plan, which they're now trying to erase.

Nor does that smaller faction of erstwhile Republicans — the Never Trumpers — have much credibility to complain about Biden. Most of them, such as Rep. Liz Cheney, who is bravely taking on Trump, are implicated in the Bush administration decisions that led inexorably to this humiliating moment. They cheered the catastrophic Iraq invasion and the concomitant failure to support a successful Afghan occupation.

Those who say that the Afghanistan project was always doomed offer a powerful argument. But if there ever was an opportunity for a government to prevail there, it was squandered in the sands of Iraq.

By the time Biden entered office, the choices before him were extremely narrow. He could follow through on Trump's badly negotiated scheme, or he could resume our role in a slow, brutal, hopeless civil war that might cost another 100,000 Afghan lives along with more American blood and treasure. He promised to end the war and has the courage to fulfill that pledge. Nobody should be surprised by his policy choices.

But Biden should have known better than to believe reassurances about how long the Afghan regime could stand without our troops and air power. The inadequate plans for withdrawal, the premature decision to abandon the Bagram airbase and the failure to begin an early rescue operation for our Afghan friends all deserve criticism and inquiry.

Fortunately, congressional Democrats seem ready to scrutinize these intelligence and policy misjudgments. Were Republicans in charge of Congress during a Trump administration withdrawal, rest assured there would be no searching oversight but only an obsequious rubber stamp.

Keeping his promise to end the forever wars probably won't diminish Biden. He must bend every effort to save the Afghans who assisted the U.S. and those who were building whatever civil society existed there. But Americans should think long and hard about the terrible errors of the last 20 years.

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com

Trump’s Brilliant Plan? Bomb Our Afghan Bases,Then Withdraw US Troops

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

With the Taliban now in total control of Afghanistan for the first time since 2001, former President Donald Trump is claiming that President Joe Biden deserves all of the blame — failing to acknowledge Biden was essentially following Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's plan for withdrawing U.S. troops from that country, although at a slower pace. And Trump is being mocked unmercifully on Twitter for his ludicrous statements.

Trump, in a statement, said: "First you bring out all of the American citizens. Then you bring out ALL equipment. Then you bomb the bases into smithereens — AND THEN YOU BRING OUT THE MILITARY. You don't do it in reverse order like Biden and our woke Generals did. No chaos, no death — they wouldn't even know we left!"

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted Trump's statement, commenting:

After reading Haberman's tweet, conservative attorney George Conway — one of Trump's most vehement critics on the right — posted:

Here are some more responses to Trump's statement: