On Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki noted how the Trump administration pushed for the release of thousands of Taliban prisoners by the Afghan government. Now, the Taliban has taken over Afghanistan. Psaki discussed those prisoner releases in response to a question about reports that an individual released from Guantanamo Bay during the Obama years had assumed a prominent position in the Taliban. It’s not a prisoner release during the Obama administration that laid some of the immediate groundwork for recent developments in Afghanistan, however — it’s the Trump administration’s decision to strike a deal with the Taliban to withdraw U.S. forces from the country.
President Joe Biden himself has explained how he felt as though he had no choice but to either continue with the withdrawal that had been set in motion by the Trump administration or ratchet up the pace of fighting in Afghanistan, and he insisted that he was firmly opposed to putting even more lives in jeopardy. Responding to the question about that released Guantanamo prisoner who’s reportedly back with the Taliban, Psaki commented as follows:
‘Well, first I would note that — one, I’d point you to the intelligence community to assess the identity of the individual. I know there’s been reporting on it, but that’s not my position to do from here. I would also note, that in prior negotiations and commitments made during the Trump administration, there were thousands of individuals who were released. So our focus right now is on, again, not taking the Taliban’s word for it. We are assessing, we are closely watching, and we are being very clear about the capacities and the capabilities we have at hand should they be needed. Of course, that’s not our objective.’
Watch Psaki’s remarks on the matter below:
Jen Psaki reminds the media that Trump released thousands of Taliban fighters who promptly overthrew the government in Afghanistan. pic.twitter.com/DxzQhpFbWy
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) August 17, 2021
Trump has called on Biden to resign over recent developments in Afghanistan, but acting as though Trump himself could somehow handle the situation assuredly more effectively is ridiculous. While in office, Trump was essentially duped by the Taliban. Around the time of that withdrawal deal-signing between Trump’s team and the Taliban last year, Trump said that he “really” believed that the Taliban “wants to do something to show we’re not all wasting time” — although obviously, the group’s interactions with the Trump administration turned out to be something of a smokescreen.