A video has resurfaced showing then-President Donald Trump warning in 2017 of the “consequences of a rapid exit” from Afghanistan.
Some observers think Trump could’ve gotten the U.S. out of Afghanistan without leaving behind the mess President Joe Biden did.
In an Aug. 21, 2017 address at Fort Myers, Virginia, Trump said he was not ready to deliver on his campaign promise to end America’s “forever wars” — citing the terrorist threat emanating from the region.
"The consequences of a rapid exit (from Afghanistan) are both predictable and unacceptable"
"A hasty withdrawal (from Afghanistan) will create a vacuum that terrorists like ISIS and Al Qaeda will instantly fill just as happened before Sept 11"
– Trump in August 21, 2017. pic.twitter.com/pmladib57S
— Ugochukwu⁹ Nwagba⁶ (@UgoNwagba) August 27, 2021
Money quote: “The consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable. Nine-eleven, the worst terrorist attack in our history was planned and directed from Afghanistan, because that country was ruled by a government that gave comfort and shelter to terrorists,” Trump said. “A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and al Qaeda, would instantly fill just as happened before September 11th.”
Trump’s speech also foreshadowed decisions he would take later in his presidency to draw down troops in Afghanistan and eventually to strike an agreement with the Taliban for a complete military withdrawal.
- “Our commitment is not unlimited, and our support is not a blank check,” Trump told the troops. “The government of Afghanistan must carry their share of the military, political, and economic burden.”
Biden has partly blamed Trump’s deal with the Taliban for his own bloody and chaotic withdrawal; but Trump has repeatedly said he had a better plan for ending the two-decade mission in Afghanistan.
- “First you bring out all of the American citizens. Then you bring out ALL equipment. Then you bomb the bases into smithereens — AND THEN YOU BRING OUT THE MILITARY,” Trump said in a statement last month.
Even Trump skeptics on the right, like National Review editor Rich Lowry, have tended to agree.
Like it or not, there's little doubt that if President Trump had gotten himself into this situation in Afghanistan, he would have instantly established leverage with the Taliban by making threats to hit them hard and relentlessly that they wouldn't have been able to ignore
— Rich Lowry (@RichLowry) August 24, 2021
Per The Dispatch, “The Biden administration has struggled in recent days to clarify how it views the United States’ relationship with the Taliban going forward. White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said Tuesday he didn’t ‘know if we will ever recognize [the Taliban’s] government,’ while Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters in a press briefing that ‘it’s possible’ the U.S. will work with the Taliban to fight ISIS-K. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin jumped in shortly after Milley’s remarks to say he ‘would not want to make any predictions.'”