- Sputnik International, 1920, 07.09.2021
Afghanistan
The Taliban (under UN sanctions for terrorist activities) stormed to power in Afghanistan on August 15, 2021, as US-led forces withdrew from the country after 20 years of occupation.

Mike Pence Says Afghan Blunder America’s ‘Greatest Foreign Policy Debacle Since Iran Hostage Crisis’

© AFP 2022 / Vahid SalemiWomen walk past anti-US graffiti painted on the wall of the former US Embassy in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010
Women walk past  anti-US graffiti painted on the wall of the former US Embassy in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010 - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.10.2021
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The chaotic collapse of the Afghan government and security forces in mid-August sparked a firestorm of criticism against the White House. Last week, senior US military leaders blamed Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump for the disaster, saying the Pentagon would have preferred to keep 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan indefinitely.
Former vice president Mike Pence has accused the Biden administration of encouraging America’s enemies abroad while clamping down on Americans at home.
“The Biden administration’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan was the greatest foreign policy debacle since the Iran hostage crisis, and it never had to happen,” Pence said, speaking to Fox News, and referring to the 444-day detention of 52 US nationals in the wake of the Iranian Revolution of 1979.
Pence insisted that the Taliban peace deal signed at Doha by Trump in February 2020 allowed for the US to pull out of Afghanistan “with honour”, and that the debacle that played out in August with the Sunni militants’ takeover of Kabul while American troops were still evacuating could have been avoided.
“The president made it clear, and I was in the Oval Office when he was speaking to [Taliban chief negotiator Abdul Ghani] Baradar, that they would either keep the deal and to work with the Afghan government and not harm any American personnel in Afghanistan, and not be a safe harbour for terrorists, or we would hit them harder than we’d ever hit them before. And as evidence that they took us seriously, we went 18 months without a single American casualty,” Pence insisted.
“But weakness arouses evil,” he added, claiming that the lack of a firmer US response to provide support to “our cherished ally Israel” during the May 2021 Israel-Palestine crisis “sent a signal into Afghanistan that we would not respond”.

“I share the conviction that the vast majority of Americans believed that we wanted to get our troops home. But we wanted to do it with honour, we wanted to do it in an orderly way and we wanted to leave behind the kind of conditions that would be reflective of the enormous service and sacrifice of our troops over the last 20 years,” the former vice president insisted.

He went on to criticise the administration for abandoning Bagram Air Base “in the middle of the night” and for leaving behind American nationals and allies after the pullout was completed in late August.
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Afghanistan
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Characterizing Afghanistan as “an example of what weak leadership means on the world stage,” Pence suggested that the administration’s foreign policy is “such a contrast to the heavy-handed leadership of this administration at home. We have a president who is weak abroad but is very content to be lecturing the American people about vaccine mandates, and attempting to drive through the congress what would be not just the largest spending bill in the history of the country [but] the largest tax increase in the history of the country.”
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Strenuous Relations With Former Boss
Pence’s comments on Afghanistan echo those regularly being made by his former boss, Donald Trump, over the past month-and-a-half. Last week, commenting on the congressional testimony of senior Pentagon officials on the Afghan pullout, Trump suggested that the withdrawal was concocted “by a child’s mind,” and claimed that it had nothing to do with him or past administrations “other than [the fact that] we should not have been in the Middle East in the first place.” He went on to accuse Biden of leaving $85 billion of US military equipment in the field for the Taliban to capture.
Trump has recently hinted to reporters that he is “certainly” considering replacing Pence if he were to run again in 2024. The former president has criticized Pence after he rebuked him over his allegations that the 2020 election was “stolen.” Earlier this year, Pence told supporters that he would “always be proud” of certifying Joe Biden’s victory in January, assuaged detractors by stressing that the vice president had no constitutional authority to challenge election results anyway. Trump remains convinced that he was robbed of victory in 2020 thanks to the unscrupulous use of mail-in ballots and voting machine manipulations in half-a-dozen swing states. American courts have refused to hear his campaign's allegations.
President Donald Trump joins Vice President Mike Pence on stage after Pence spoke on the third day of the Republican National Convention at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020 - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.06.2021
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