Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Tuesday that he was concerned that Donald Trump “undermined” the United States’ 2020 agreement with the Taliban by pushing for US forces to leave Afghanistan without the Taliban meeting the conditions of the deal.
The Trump administration’s “Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan” outlined a series of commitments from the US and the Taliban related to troop levels, counterterrorism, and intra-Afghan dialogue aimed at bringing about “a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.”
After years of negotiations, the Taliban and the Trump administration finally signed a peace deal in 2020. The US agreed to withdraw troops and release some 5,000 Taliban prisoners, while the Taliban agreed to take steps to prevent any group or individual, including al Qaeda, from using Afghanistan to threaten the security of the US or its allies. But the deal didn’t bring about peace.
Do none of the media talking heads realize that if Trump was in office, we would have left everyone behind? Trump had no plan for evacuation.
So, yes, it's messy right now, but it's messy because we are doing the right thing. We didn't just walk away.https://t.co/GP3gtNp4Ob
— Leslieoo7 (@Leslieoo7) August 19, 2021
Following the agreement, violence in Afghanistan grew to its highest levels in two decades and the Taliban increased their control of wider swaths of the country. Although Afghan security forces were well funded and well equipped, they put up little resistance as Taliban militants seized much of the country following the withdrawal of US troops beginning in early July. Now factions within the Biden administration are embroiled in a blame game over why the US government didn’t act sooner to withdraw American citizens and Afghans who helped the US over two decades of war, leading to a rushed and dangerous evacuation.
— redwhiskeypete (@redwhiskeypete) August 18, 2021
In his first public comments since the Taliban solidified control of Kabul, President Joe Biden on Monday laid blame on the Afghan security forces’ unwillingness to fight and the decisions of previous administrations — including the Trump administration — while failing to directly address the chaos unfolding on his watch. President Biden conceded that the Taliban takeover happened faster than anticipated, though he said he stands “squarely behind” his decision.
Leave it to #MAGA to take away from the ongoing evacuation in Afghanistan with terrorism in America. Trump and his circle should be held personally responsible for everything that follows from the Big Lie.
— Chris “Cal” Carnahan 🇺🇸 (@xtrixcyclex) August 19, 2021
Esper appeared on Christine Amanpour to explain how Trump’s plan was never actually going to be put into practice, although his explanation seemed to fall short.
Mark Esper, The former secretary of defense, did an interview with #CNN and he is feeding them a bunch of sugar right now.
He’s got a lot of nerve to pin this all on President Biden when Trump failed at doing what he said he was going to do.
— Wendy (@wendyc78757) August 17, 2021
Watch Esper’s interview here.