As the fallout from the Biden administration’s ill-conceived, poorly executed and deadly withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan continues, President Joe Biden has repeatedly blamed the chaotic exit on the Trump administration’s February 2020 peace deal with the Taliban.
He would like Americans to believe that the debacle occurred because he’d been handcuffed by the conditions of the agreement.
Bill Maher, liberal but often very insightful, has a knack for cutting through the noise and arriving at the essence of political issues.
In a podcast that aired last month, Maher asked, “Why did we pull out the security guard before we got the people out of the disco?”
He was referring to Biden’s unbelievably foolish idea to abandon Bagram Air Base, the largest and most secure air base in Afghanistan, before evacuating Americans and our Afghan allies from the country. This decision belongs to Biden alone.
The Trump administration deal was called the Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan.
A close look at former President Donald Trump’s deal proves that the blame for the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal rests solely on Biden’s shoulders. The deal lays out clear sequential steps for how the Afghanistan pull-out was to be staged.
The major revelation from the text is that the biggest bases (including Bagram Air Base) were supposed to be the installations that were evacuated last after all of the “American forces” were evacuated from the country.
As per the agreement, the U.S. committed to withdraw “all military forces of the United States, its allies, and Coalition partners, including all non-diplomatic civilian personnel, private security contractors, trainers, advisors, and supporting services personnel.”
Here is the relevant clause:
“With the commitment and action on the obligations of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan … in Part Two of this agreement, the United States, its allies, and the Coalition will execute the following: 1) The United States, its allies, and the Coalition will complete withdrawal of all remaining forces from Afghanistan within the remaining nine and a half (9.5) months. 2) The United States, its allies, and the Coalition will withdraw all their forces from remaining bases.”
When Biden decided to surrender Bagram before all American forces were evacuated, he was willfully breaking from the explicit text of Trump’s peace deal.
Republican political strategist Ralph Reed was one of Maher’s guests on that episode. The other guest was British journalist and Biden sympathizer Katty Kay, who spouted all of the administration’s talking points. Reed suggested that Kay read the agreement.
“I would encourage your viewers to go online and actually read the agreement,” Reed told the panelists. “OK, read the agreement that the Trump administration negotiated. It was conditions-based. It required the Taliban to break all ties with al-Qaeda, with ISIS, with the Haqqani network and other terrorist infrastructures. They failed to do so. It also said that they couldn’t launch any attacks. They failed to do that.”
“It also made clear that Bagram Air Base was gonna be evacuated last. That was gonna be the last facility we left. Why? Because that facility was where we provided counterintelligence, drone, air support that was necessary to keep the Afghan forces alive.
“And when Joe Biden, not Donald Trump, when Joe Biden cut and run out of that facility, and left $350 million of [Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles] armored personnel carriers and night vision goggles and other sensitive expensive equipment there, he not only handed the death certificate for Afghanistan to the Taliban; he sent a clear message to the Afghan forces. ‘We’re done, we’re finished.’ He owns the whole thing. And trying to blame his predecessor only makes it worse.
“What I said was the deal was conditions-based and it was sequential. So we did certain things after they kept their word. He was not obligated to withdraw precipitously and incompetently when they failed to live up to their end of the deal.”
Bagram was designed to be a well-defended and secure facility. The approaches to the base would have been covered by U.S. forces and aircraft, meaning American citizens and refugees could have accessed this site far easier than Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. Those were the major reasons Trump made it clear Bagram would be the last site held.
If we are looking for a smoking gun to pin this mess on Biden, this is it. If he had just followed the clearly defined steps in Trump’s peace deal, the entire situation would have played out very differently.
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