Mike Pompeo: Ashraf Ghani stole the election, destroyed prospects for peace, and unlike Zelensky, chose to flee

Reflecting on his time as the US Secretary of State at an event at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics, Mike Pompeo said that America had left a “mixed legacy” in Afghanistan. 

America’s longest war had “exhausted” the American people. And that both Presidents Trump and Biden had campaigned to end it. Leaving Afghanistan was the wish of the American people. 

The withdrawal in August 2021, Pompeo said, had been “devastatingly bad” for America’s security. “Our friends don’t trust as much as they did the day before that and our adversaries do not fear us as much.” Pompeo said, arguing that the way the withdrawal was handled had played a part in Vladimir Putin’s calculations to invade Ukraine. 

The former US Secretary of State said he had personally found negotiating with the Taliban difficult. The Taliban deputy leader, he said, “almost certainly killed a friend of mine.”

Pompeo excoriated the former Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, for being a block on the peace process. America, he said, had manged to bring all Afghans on the negotiating table to end the war, which Ashraf Ghani was against. 

Mike Pompeo and the Taliban deputy leader, Mullah Baradar, whom the former Secretary of State said had killed one of his friends.

But for America, he said, “it mattered to get it right,” which meant a longer winding down process of 3 to 5 years, requiring some American presence in Afghanistan. “We were hopeful that we had begun to head down that road,” he said. Adding that Ashraf Ghani, who claimed he just been re-elected, “didn’t want to participate.” Which was “most unfortunate.” Ashraf Ghani, Pompeo said, “stole the election.”

Just as one of his predecessors, Hilary Clinton recently said, Mike Pompeo said that unlike President Zelensky of Ukraine, Ashraf Ghani chose to flee to live “some place to live nice peaceful life, while there are so many people suffering inside Afghanistan.”