- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 15, 2021

Rep. Liz Cheney said Sunday Presidents Biden and Trump shoulder the blame for the unfolding “catastrophe” in Afghanistan

The Wyoming Republican and member of the House Armed Services Committee said during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” the situation in Afghanistan was avoidable, and the fallout will tarnish the nation’s image on the world stage for years to come.

“I think that, absolutely, President Biden bears responsibility for making this decision, but there is no question that President Trump, his administration, [former Secretary Mike] Pompeo, they also bear very significant responsibility for this,” Ms. Cheney said. “They walked down this path of legitimizing the Taliban, of perpetuating this fantasy, telling the American people that the Taliban were a partner for peace. 

“President Trump told us that the Taliban was going to fight terrorism. [Former Secretary Mike] Pompeo told us that the Taliban was going to renounce al Qaeda,” she said. “None of that has happened, none of it has happened.”

The Taliban in recent days advanced on Kabul after seizing other cities amid the U.S. withdrawal of its remaining forces. 

The offensive put the Biden administration on the defensive and sparked a round of finger-pointing on the Sunday talk show circuit.

The Biden administration and its allies said Mr. Trump left the administration in an unwinnable position after signing a deal with the Taliban to withdraw U.S. forces.

Mr. Trump and his allies, meanwhile, blamed Mr. Biden and his allies, arguing the situation would have played out in a dramatically different fashion if they were in office.

Whatever the case, Ms. Cheney said the events show the fallacy of the “We’re going to end endless wars” campaign slogan.

“What we’re watching right now in Afghanistan is what happens when America withdraws from the world,” she said.

Ms. Cheney said the United States could have maintained the status quo in Afghanistan by leaving 2,500 to 3,500 forces on the ground to conduct counterterrorism and counterintelligence operations.

“This disaster, the catastrophe that we’re watching unfold right now across Afghanistan did not have to happen,” she said. “It’s not just that people predicted that this would happen, everyone was warned that this would happen.”

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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