Trump Execs Trying To Produce Their Own Afghan Theory
There's been no shortage of fact-based criticism aimed at the Biden administration's handling of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. But some of the criticism from former Trump administration officials has departed from the truth, Daniel Dale, Holmes Lybrand and Tara Subramaniam reported for CNN.
Photo Insert: Former President Donald Trump has been relentless in selling his belief that the deal his administration cut with the Taliban did not contribute to the region's instability.
In public statements this past week, former Vice President Mike Pence, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, and former Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller have all slammed Biden in one way or another for the chaos that has unfolded in Afghanistan this month.
“Facts First: There is no legitimate argument that Afghanistan experienced anything resembling ‘stability’ after the US deal with the Taliban. While Pence is correct that no more US troops were killed in combat after the deal, the war continued to rage, and large numbers of Afghan troops and civilians continued to be killed or injured. The inspector general for the Department of Defense reported that "the Taliban escalated violence further" in the immediate aftermath of the signing of the agreement.
The United Nations reported that while "there was a drop in the number of civilian casualties documented in the first nine months" of 2020, "in stark contrast, the last three months of the year marked an uncharacteristic rise in civilian casualties -- a critical indicator of the nature of the conflict. The year ended with increased focus on levels of violence and diminishing hopes for lasting peace."
"The anguish caused by the armed conflict continued to be widespread and felt in cities and rural areas by people of all ages, genders, ethnicities and social-economic backgrounds," the UN said in its annual report on the war -- in which it noted that civilian casualties were up 45% in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.
The total number of Afghan civilian casualties recorded by the UN for 2020, 8,820, was the lowest since 2013 -- but it was still higher than in any of the five years between 2009 and 2013,” CNN reported.
"There was a stability on US military bases, not in the country," said Sher Jan Ahmadzai, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Ahmadzai also argued that Trump's US-Taliban deal "paved the way for further potential instability by undermining the legitimacy of the very government President Trump and previous administrations had been supporting."