Mike Pompeo, the former US Secretary of State, has criticised President Joe Biden for his handling in August 2021 of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Speaking to Fox Business on Thursday, Pompeo accused Biden of losing both “American prestige” and “American lives”, and making the world a more dangerous place.
Referring to the emotional testimony given by an American soldier who was involved in the withdrawal during the last days of the US presence in Kabul at the first public hearing held by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, Pompeo called it “heartbreaking”.
The former Secretary of State was present at the signing ceremony of the US-Taliban agreement in Doha, Qatar, in February 2020. The agreement paved the way for the US to leave Afghanistan, and many believe it led to the Taliban’s return to power in August 2021. Pompeo said that it was the right time “to get our young men and women back from Afghanistan after two decades.”
But he criticised Joe Biden’s decision to set a date for departure, which he said led to the deadly chaotic outcome.
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At the congress hearing, US Marine Corps Sergeant, Tyler Vargas-Andrews, recounted what he saw in the aftermath of the suicide attack, which killed more than 180 people, including 13 US Army personnel.
“A flash and a massive wave of pressure. I’m thrown 4 feet onto the ground but instantly knew what had happened. I opened my eyes to Marines dead or unconscious lying around me. A crowd of hundreds immediately vanished in front of me. And my body was catastrophically wounded with 100 to 150 ball bearings now in it,” he said.
On Wednesday, Politico revealed details of a closed session in Congress held in the summer of 2021. During the session, Molly Phee, the deputy to Zalmai Khalilzad who led negotiations with the Taliban, said that the US’s unilateral decision to reduce its military presence in Afghanistan played a critical role in discouraging the Taliban from agreeing to a political settlement with other Afghans.