"Will you shut up man?"

September 1, 2021 - 19:38

TEHRAN — We all know that Biden and Trump are not much different. Yet, in some angry outbursts from former lame duck president Donald Trump, he has blamed Biden for the embarrassing evacuation from Afghanistan, as if, four years of chaos did not happen under his watch.

Trump called on the present Biden administration to get "every penny" of U.S. equipment out of the region or "bomb the hell" out of the country.

"Never in history has a withdrawal from war been handled so badly or incompetently as the Biden Administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan," Trump wrote in an email statement on Monday. "In addition to the obvious, ALL EQUIPMENT should be demanded to be immediately returned to the United States, and that includes every penny of the $85 billion dollars in cost."

These remarks are a direct threat to the people of Afghanistan. Although he himself might have forgotten, history will never forget what Trump did to Afghanistan.

On November 21, 2020, Mike Pompeo, United States’ then-Secretary of State met with a Taliban delegation, led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Doha. 

“I would be most interested in getting your thoughts on how we can increase the probability of a successful outcome,” reporters heard Pompeo telling the Afghan negotiating team. The Taliban and Afghanistan’s government began their negotiations for the first time in September 2020 in Doha after the Taliban and the U.S. signed a deal in February.

According to the agreement signed on February 29 between the Taliban and the United States, the two agreed on a comprehensive peace agreement, consisted of four parts. 

In an interview with Fox News on August 15, Pompeo bashed Biden’s strategy with regard to the Taliban. 

“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 said. 

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace responded by pointing out that Pompeo himself had pushed to legitimize the Taliban’s leadership under the Trump administration, which eventually inked a ceasefire deal that largely resulted in the Taliban shifting their military attacks to target local security forces and the Afghan National Army.

“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?” asked Wallace.

Pompeo’s response implied that the Trump administration would have used military force against the Taliban, before they take over the capital. This is sentiment reverberated by other Trump officials as well. They don’t however offer an explanation as to how long the United States should stay in Afghanistan, if engaged in another military combat against the Taliban. Trump’s idiocy was clear to everyone. Now, it is more evident. 

Biden defends shameful withdrawal

In his presser on Tuesday afternoon, Biden said that some level of chaos in the evacuation was unavoidable; yet, he defended his decision to withdraw from Afghanistan. 

“The bottom line is there is no evacuation from the end of a war that you can run without the kinds of complexities, challenges and threats we faced,” he said. “None.”
The last U.S. troops left after nightfall of August 31, ending two decades of invasion. 

The departure of U.S. troops marked the final stage of an evacuation that flew more than 120,000 people, mostly Afghan allies, out of the country.
Biden said his administration worked tirelessly to help Americans leave Afghanistan, adding that diplomatic efforts would continue now that military operations have ended.

Who is responsible for Afghanistan crisis?

The debate over the chaos in Afghanistan has swirled around why the U.S. was so slow in evacuating Afghan allies eligible for Special Immigrant visas (SIVs). There are many reasons. One is that the Trump administration intentionally broke the SIV processing system in 2017 creating a huge backlog of Afghan partners who could have been evacuated earlier. 

The system was so gummed up that, by early 2021, the average wait time for an SIV had soared to well over two years.

In 2006, Congress established SIVs for Iraqis and Afghans who had worked for the U.S. military and U.S. government agencies. Initially, SIV issuance was painfully slow. Only 371 Iraqi and Afghan principal applicants (plus family members) received SIVs in 2008, as former employees on the list were being targeted for murder in Iraq.  

In 2017, the new administration tried to implement a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. and ordered the implementation of “extreme vetting” of foreign nationals, including SIV applicants.

Under the White House’s direction, and Department of Homeland Security leadership, Washington agencies proposed new and, in some cases, duplicative and impractical vetting procedures.

In effect, President Trump and his senior advisor Stephen Miller greatly increased the vetting workload and then starved the system of resources to do the job.

The number of SIVs issued dropped by the hundreds. Iraqi SIVs fell from 557 in 2017 to 152 in 2019; the number of Afghan SIVs went from 4,120 in 2017 to 1,799 in 2020, as the number of applicants ballooned.

The processing time for Afghan SIV applicants in early 2021 reached 703 days.

Trump went on to bash the president for evacuating 4,000 Americans (15 percent) out of the 26,000 total people evacuated, citing a statement leaked from the Pentagon reported by Politico's Alex Ward.

He also questioned the Biden administration's evacuation process, speculating that the Taliban would not allow their "best and brightest" to board flights out of the country.

In rude and rather racist statements, Trump implied that with the evacuation, immigrants, or as he called them “terrorists”, will enter the U.S. 

"We can only imagine how many thousands of terrorists have been airlifted out of Afghanistan and into neighborhoods around the world," Trump wrote. "What a terrible failure. NO VETTING. How many terrorists will Joe Biden bring to America? We don't know!"

The Pentagon has stated that "several thousand" Americans remain in the country and that those who want to leave will be evacuated. The effort to evacuate Afghans from the country remains centered around those deemed vulnerable who have applied for Special Immigrant Visas (SIV).

In earlier statements Trump wrote, “Can anyone even imagine taking out our Military before evacuating civilians and others who have been good to our Country and who should be allowed to seek refuge? The Americans come out first. But we're also going to help people that helped us. And we have to be very careful with the vetting, because you have some rough people in there, but we're going to help those people.”

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) report from Aug. 10, 2017, said that the U.S. government had appropriated $76 billion since fiscal year 2002 for "various DOD and State programs to support Afghan security," according to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

Two Republicans on the House Oversight Committee drafted a letter on Aug. 23 requesting information from the Pentagon over its plans to recover or destroy billions of dollars worth of U.S. equipment now in the hands of Taliban fighters.

The letter was signed by Rep. James Comer of the Committee on Oversight and Reform and Rep. Glenn Grothman of the Subcommittee on National Security. Both lawmakers requested "documents sufficient to show a full accounting of all U.S. military equipment provided to the Afghan National Security Forces, or affiliated military group, since 2003."

All four U.S. presidents, from Bush Jr. to Biden, are fully and equally responsible for the current situation in Afghanistan. Yet, Trump must know that nobody can forget his words. They are forever recorded in history. 

SA/PA

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