Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has chastised the White House for its ineffective tactics in Afghanistan, claiming that the country would not fall to the Taliban if Donald Trump were in charge.
Pompeo warned on Thursday night that the country was becoming a “breeding ground” for future terrorist attacks, just weeks before the 20th anniversary of 9/11, and that the Biden administration’s response was “at best naive and at worst ignorant.”
He spoke as the Taliban continued their assault across the country on Thursday, seizing Kandahar, the country’s second largest city, and Herat, the third largest. They stormed into Lashkar Gar, the capital of Helmand Province, on Friday.
The Biden administration announced Thursday that it would send 3,000 troops back to Afghanistan to assist in the evacuation of American personnel from the embassy in Kabul, as well as another 5,000 troops on standby in Qatar and Kuwait, with only two weeks until the deadline to end all ground operations on August 31.
The move comes amid outrage over Biden’s administration’s troop withdrawal, which has allowed the Taliban to run amok and capture 12 provincial capitals in a week. There are also reports that terrorists are executing surrendering Afghan troops and going door-to-door forcing young women and girls into sex slavery.
Thousands of Afghans have also fled their homes and are making their way to Pakistan.
“It looks at best naïve and at worst ignorant,” he said, of the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. forces. “Weakness begets war, and you see what weak leadership ultimately leads to.”
By Thursday night, the Taliban had taken control of 12 provincial capitals and two-thirds of the country. Only three major cities remain under Afghan government control: Kabul, Jalalabad, and Mazar-i-Sharif.
On Thursday, the Taliban seized the cities of Ghazni, Herat, and Kandahar in the most dramatic string of captures since the start of their offensive.
On Thursday morning, just 80 miles southwest of Kabul, militants raised white flags imprinted with an Islamic proclamation of faith over Ghazni.
In addition to the over 650 US soldiers already on the ground, the Pentagon was sending 3,000 troops, divided into three infantry battalions, to oversee the evacuation of the US embassy in Kabul.
Pompeo said that Trump was adamant the Taliban would not regain power on his watch.
“We had a conditions-based plan for how we would get our young men and women back home,” he told Sean Hannity of Fox News.
“We were going to get our soldiers back, and we were going to make sure that this kind of thing you are seeing happened today could not happen – which is a breeding ground for what could potentially be terror attacks coming from this very place.”
“I’ll never forget the president saying you got two missions, Mike: we have got to have an orderly plan and execution of leadership to actually do that, and then second you’ve got to make sure that we are never attacked from this place.”
Pompeo said the 20th anniversary of 9/11 was a potent reminder of the threat.
Pompeo said that having the Taliban back in control was a threat to international peace and stability.
We are now a little bit less than a month away from the 20th anniversary of when they came, when Al Qaeda came and attacked our homeland,’ he told Hannity.
We never want that to happen from Afghanistan again.
So we had begun to prepare. We started to withdraw from our embassy in Kabul.
President Trump himself made clear to the Taliban leadership: touch an American and we are going to come hard and we are going to come fast.