Mon, August 16, 2021, 5:58 PM
Biden points to deal negotiated by Trump to explain Afghanistan exit
Amid the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, President Biden said Monday that his decision to pull American forces from the country stemmed from a deal that former President Donald Trump’s administration had negotiated with the Taliban.
“When I came into office I inherited a deal that President Trump had negotiated with the Taliban,” Biden said at the White House, adding, “The choice I had to make as your president was either to follow through on that agreement or be prepared to go back to fighting the Taliban in the middle of the spring fighting season.
“There was only the cold reality of either following through on the agreement to withdraw our forces or escalating the conflict and sending thousands more American troops into combat in Afghanistan, lurching into the third decade of conflict,” Biden said.
The Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan was signed in Doha, Qatar, by the Taliban and the United States on Feb. 29, 2020. In exchange for a ceasefire with American and allied forces and the severing of ties with terrorist groups, the U.S. pledged to facilitate the release of thousands of Taliban prisoners and withdraw its forces by May 1, 2021. The Afghan government was not involved in the negotiations.
Trump, who campaigned on bringing the war to an end in both the 2016 and 2020 elections, had frequently touted the agreement.
“I’ll say this for the Taliban,” Trump said in March 2020 after the deal was signed. “They’re great fighters. You know that obviously. They’re great fighters. All you have to do is ask the Soviet Union. Are they great fighters? They are great fighters. But they’re tired also. This is 19 years, 19 years.”
Trump also took credit for the war’s end at a rally last month. “I started the process, all the troops are coming home,” he said. “Biden couldn’t stop the process.”