Although she also criticized Biden’s decision to go through with withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) on Sunday slammed the Trump administration for their decision to strike what she called a “surrender agreement” with the Taliban. Last year, Trump and his administration struck a widely touted Afghanistan withdrawal deal with the Taliban — and troublingly, this eventual deal did not even directly involve the Afghan government. Instead, the deal — along with public comments from Trump and then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — essentially elevated the Taliban, and now, the group has taken over Afghanistan amid the final stages of the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from the country. Cheney called the Trump administration’s deal with the Taliban “indefensible.”
The Congresswoman pointedly commented as follows on NBC:
‘This is one of the things that was such an indefensible step by the Trump administration, when President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo decided that they were going to sign a surrender agreement with the Taliban… We sat down and negotiated with terrorists… We completely excluded the Afghan government from those negotiations. We gave credibility to the Taliban. Secretary Pompeo told us that the Taliban was going to renounce al Qaeda. They told us that the Taliban was going to fight terrorists… So we completely undercut the Afghan national government. We absolutely emboldened the Taliban. And we know now, from public reporting, that the moment that agreement was signed, the Taliban went to members of the Afghan national army, and said — the Americans are leaving you, and you should lay down your arms when the time comes, or we’ll kill you and your families. So that led directly to the catastrophe that we’re seeing today.’
Besides the substance of the withdrawal deal, Trump and Pompeo both publicly touted the Taliban’s supposed positioning to fight terror groups like al Qaeda. Amid those developments, the Trump administration also pressured the Afghan government to release thousands of Taliban prisoners — and now, as Cheney noted, these events have culminated in the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban. For anyone involved in the Trump administration’s Taliban maneuvers to claim innocence would be ridiculous. Watch Cheney’s comments below:
Notably, besides advocating for the swift evacuation of Americans from Afghanistan, Cheney also said on NBC that Americans “have to ensure that we get out the Afghans who helped us.” In contrast, certain prominent conservatives have recently complained about efforts to evacuate certain Afghans from the country. Trump himself, for instance, recently said in reference to an image of a plane full of Afghans that the plane “should have been full of Americans. America First!” — although since the world isn’t a board game, helping two groups at once is possible.