Former US President Donald Trump has laid into his successor Joe Biden's delay in withdrawing troops from Afghanistan to 11 September 2021.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the property tycoon laid out his reasons why postponing the pullout was a mistake.
"First, we can and should get out earlier. Nineteen years is enough, in fact, far too much and way too long", Trump said.
"I made early withdraw possible by already pulling much of our billions of dollars of equipment out and, more importantly, reducing our military presence to less than 2,000 troops from the 16,000 level that was there", he stressed.
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) April 18, 2021
Native New Yorker Trump also objected to Biden conflating the solemn 20th anniversary of the World Trade Centre suicide airliner attacks by Saudi al-Qaeda terrorists with the "wonderful and positive" peace deal.
"September 11th represents a very sad event and period for our country and should remain a day of reflection and remembrance honoring those great souls we lost. Getting out of Afghanistan is a wonderful and positive thing to do", he said.
Trump also criticised his successor for reneging on the peace treaty his own administration agreed upon with the Taliban, under which all US forces were meant to leave the country by May 1st of this year.
"I planned to withdraw on May 1st, and we should keep as close to that schedule as possible", he insisted.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Friday that the US might actually deploy more forces to Afghanistan ahead of the delayed pullout, while a senior government official told the media that Washington will maintain enough "military and intelligence capabilities" in and around the country to strike at the al-Qaeda* terrorist group if it re-emerges.
*Al-Qaeda is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.