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‘Conditions-Based Plan’: Pompeo Says Trump Saw US Withdrawal From Afghanistan in A Different Way

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In February 2020, the administration of former US President Donald Trump and the Taliban* signed an agreement stipulating a gradual withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan.
Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized the current US administration for shifting responsibility for the change of power in Afghanistan to Trump, as the latter's administration initiated the US troop withdrawal.
Speaking to Fox News, Pompeo said that the Trump administration had a different withdrawal plan than that in use by the Biden administration.
“We had a conditions-based withdrawal plan and we executed that. We were down from about 15,000 to a little over 2,500. And for the last 13 months of our administration, we didn't have a single American attacked or a single American killed,” Pompeo said.
He noted that “it wasn't because of the piece of paper,” but because of a “set of understandings”, as the Taliban, according to Pompeo, knew that “if they acted against Americans and took on actions that were inconsistent with what they had promised to do, we'd respond and we did.”
Blaming what he characterizes as a weakness in the Biden’s administration that has placed the American military “in an incredibly difficult position,” Pompeo claimed that the withdrawal happened “when the conditions weren't right.” Agreeing with Biden that “the right thing to do was to get these folks home,” Pompeo suggested that the Trump administration was not able to identify “the conditions right to execute what President Biden chose to do”.
“President Trump wanted everyone out from January of 2017. We never found the conditions right to be able to do that. So we withdrew from 15,000 to about 8,600 then to about 4,500, each time along the way thoughtfully making sure that we understood that we had deterrence maintained, that we had an order that we could protect Americans,” Pompeo said.
The Taliban’s capture of the Afghan capital of Kabul on 15 August concluded the active conflict in Afghanistan begun after the US started removing its troops in May. The fall of the official government prompted many Afghans to seek ways to leave the country.
Currently, the US and other NATO member countries continue to remove their personnel from Afghanistan, alongside their Afghan allies. The evacuation is expected to conclude by the 31 August deadline.
*A terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.
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