Aug 18, 2021 - World

Pence says Biden solely responsible for Afghanistan crisis

 Former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the FAMiLY Leader summit in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Friday, July 16
Former Vice President Mike Pence at a July summit in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo: Rachel Mummey/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Vice President Mike Pence accused President Biden in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Tuesday of showing "weakness" toward the Taliban and insisted the crisis in Afghanistan wouldn't have happened if U.S. troops left the country sooner.

Why it matters: There's a hot debate about which U.S. administration owns this disaster. Biden blames his predecessor, former President Trump, for empowering the Taliban and leaving them "in the strongest position militarily since 2001." Now Pence says it's the fault of Biden alone.

What he's saying: In the WSJ op-ed, Pence argues that the Trump plan for exiting Afghanistan by May 1 was sound, and that Biden caused the current crisis by delaying the withdrawal and showing "weakness" toward the Taliban.

  • "There was no plan to transport the billions of dollars worth of American equipment recently captured by the Taliban, or evacuate the thousands of Americans now scrambling to escape Kabul, or facilitate the regional resettlement of the thousands of Afghan refugees who will now be seeking asylum in the U.S. with little or no vetting," Pence wrote.

The other side: The Biden administration argues that the struggle to evacuate eligible Afghans is due in part to the fact that the Trump administration left no plan to do so and undercut the existing visa and refugee processes.

  • Biden argues it was actually Trump who set the current train in motion by reaching a vague deal with the Taliban that promised a U.S. withdrawal by May 1 without sufficient planning around how that would be accomplished.

Go deeper: How Kabul fell so fast

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