As the United States reduces its presence in Afghanistan, Taliban militants have recaptured a third of the country, and the former US ambassador says Donald Trump is largely to blame.
“We have a great responsibility for this,” Ryan Crocker, a former US ambassador to Afghanistan, told CNN on Thursday. “It started with President Trump when he authorized negotiations between the United States and the Taliban without the Afghan government in the room. That was a key demand from the Taliban, and we acceded to it, and it was a huge demoralizing factor for the Afghan government and its approach to security. “
The terrible assessment comes as the militant force has retaken much of the country. The Taliban controlled 12 of the country’s 34 provincial capitals as of Friday, as well as Kandahar, the country’s second-largest city.
In 2019, as part of peace negotiations with the Taliban that did not include the Afghan government, the United States agreed to release large numbers of Taliban prisoners if the group stopped attacking US forces. In February of the following year, the Trump administration announced a more comprehensive peace agreement, which changed the US withdrawal for May 2021 to the group’s agreement not to host extremist groups such as Al Qaeda. The Biden administration reviewed the agreement and delayed the withdrawal date for US troops until September.
“Like any complex phenomenon, there are a number of reasons for the collapse of the Afghan forces, but we cannot ignore that we played a central role in delegitimizing them and their government,” said the former ambassador, adding: “It is very sad Hearing that our envoys to the Taliban are now pleading with them not to shoot us as we withdraw, when you think about how this started, a peace agreement that we would somehow negotiate. Well, welcome to reality. “
On Thursday, as Taliban forces continued their advance, the US State Department announced that it would withdraw its staff from the US embassy in Kabul for security reasons, and the Pentagon will send an additional 3,000 troops to reinforce the 650 remaining. in the city, according to officials. your evacuation.
The former president distanced himself from any blame for the situation, despite the fact that the Trump administration launched the withdrawal of the United States.
“I personally had conversations with top Taliban leaders in which they understood that what they are doing now would not have been acceptable,” Trump said in a statement this week. “It would have been a very different and much more successful withdrawal, and the Taliban understood that better than anyone.”
The United States has occupied Afghanistan since 2001, investing billions of dollars in strengthening the Afghan state and security forces, to no avail. More than 2,400 Americans have died during the war, as well as approximately 100,000 Afghan civilians who have been injured or killed.