Former Vice President Mike Pence defended former President Donald Trump following a report about the botched withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan.
In August of 2021, President Joe Biden launched a hasty withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.
The ill-planned endeavor led to the Taliban reclaiming power in the country and the death of thirteen US service members.
A US State Department report faulted both the Trump and Biden administrations for the failure, despite Biden overseeing and enacting the withdrawal.
The report criticized Trump for “insufficient senior level consideration of worst case scenarios” and claimed there was “no plan or effort to help at risk Afghans” or “how to keep diplomats in Kabul after withdrawal” despite Trump’s stated desire to end US presence there.
It also found such dysfunction within the Biden administration during the troops’ exit that no one actually knew who was in charge of coordinating the State Department’s role in the withdrawal.
Pence Defends Trump Admin’s Actions
Pence told CBS anchor Margaret Brennan that the Trump administration should not bear any responsibility for the withdrawal.
“It was made very clear, I was in the room when President Trump told the leader of the Taliban— he said, ‘Look, you’re gonna have to cooperate with the Afghan government. You don’t harbor terrorists and you don’t harm any American soldiers.’ We went 18 months without a single American casualty until the day at that Kabul airport, we lost thirteen brave American service members,” he said.
“The blame for what happened here falls squarely on the current commander-in-chief. And under our administration, I promise you, that while it was the intention of the former president to pull all troops out, when the Taliban broke the deal and moved into Mazar-e-Sharif and Joe Biden did nothing, that set in motion the catastrophe that became Afghanistan and the heartbreaking end to 20 years of conflict,” the former vice president went on.