Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ripped President Biden over his administration’s “panicked” tactics in Afghanistan, saying in a TV interview that “weakness begets war” as Taliban fighters continue their lightning offensive to take over the country.
The former top US diplomat told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Thursday night that the embattled country would not be falling to the insurgents if former President Donald Trump were still in power.
“It looks at best naïve and at worst ignorant. Weakness begets war, and you can see what weak leadership ultimately leads to,” Pompeo said, according to the US Sun.
The former Secretary of State also reminded viewers that Trump had vowed that the Taliban would not regain power during his administration.
“We had a conditions-based plan for how we would get our young men and women back home,” Pompeo said.
“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,” he said.
“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 added.
The former diplomat said a resurgence of the Taliban, which on Friday had captured three more provincial capitals, was a threat to the international community.
“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,” Pompeo said.
“We never want that to happen from Afghanistan again, so we had begun to prepare. We started to withdraw from our embassy in Kabul,” he said. “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.”
On Thursday, Biden ordered a large deployment of troops to help evacuate US Embassy staff from Kabul.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said that 3,000 US troops are going to reinforce the more than 600 US troops already working at or near the embassy. He said US officials didn’t want to “wait until it’s too late.
“This is a US decision by the commander in chief to reduce civilian personnel and to have US military personnel flow in to help with that reduction,” Kirby said.
Another 3,500 US troops will deploy to Kuwait as a “reserve force” and 1,000 more will go to Qatar to help process visa applications from Afghan civilians who helped the US, Kirby said.
US officials believe the Taliban could retake Kabul within months of Biden’s Aug. 31 deadline for removing most US troops from the country
Pompeo told Fox News in an earlier interview Thursday that the embassy was already starting to reduce staff last year and that he’s concerned that the deployment shows “a bit of panic.”
“Big strategy depends on planning and execution,” he said. “I hope that they’ve got the right number of folks and they can get them there quickly. I hope that we can protect Americans in the way that the Trump administration had every intention of doing as we drew down our forces there.”
He said Trump made clear to Taliban leaders that any harm to Americans would come at a steep cost — even warning a lead negotiator of consequences “to your village.”
“I was also in the room when President Trump made very clear to Mullah Baradar, the senior Taliban negotiator, that if you threatened an American, if you scared an American and certainly if you hurt an American, that we would bring all American power to bear to make sure that we went to your village, to your house. We were very clear about the things we were prepared to do to protect American lives,” Pompeo said.
Biden took office in January with only 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan, meaning the new deployment will actually increase the number of American troops in the country in order to facilitate the pullout.