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Pompeo Says Afghan Fiasco Return to ‘American Weakness’ of Obama Years

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Mike Pompeo was closely involved in — if not supportive of — former US president Donald Trump’s efforts to make peace with North Korea and end the 20-year Afghan war. But he was also among those thought to have urged greater aggression against Afghanistan’s neighbour Iran.

Donald Trump’s ex-foreign policy chief has said Joe Biden’s handling of the Afghan pull-out has taken the US back to the “weakness” of former president Barack Obama.

Hawkish former secretary of state Mike Pompeo said US “leadership” in the global affairs “has already walked off the stage” seven months into the Democrat president’s administration.

“It looks like we’re back to Barack Obama, America apologizing, American weakness, and our adversaries not fearing us and our friends not trusting us,” Pompeo told Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures programme on Sunday morning.

He said that Washington’s designated enemies like Russian president Vladimir Putin, China’s Xi Jinping and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un were “watching America destroy its alliances” with glee.

© AP Photo / Rahmat Gul

In this Aug. 19, 2021 file photo, Taliban fighters display their flag on patrol in Kabul, Afghanistan. When U.S. President Joe Biden took office early this year, Western allies were falling over themselves to welcome and praise him and hail a new era in trans-Atlantic cooperation.

The White House ordered up to a hasty evacuation of its embassy in Kabul just over a week ago after its predictions that the US-trained Afghan National Army would hold out against the Taliban, the insurgent movement banned in many countries including Russia.

Up to 6,000 US troops have been deployed to the Afghan capital, prompting the UK, Canada, France and NATO members to follow suit as they also pull out their embassy staff and citizens. By contrast, Russia, China and other nations have kept their embassies open and maintain constructive relations with the new regime.

The insurgents walked into Kabul on Sunday August 15 without firing a shot, occupying the presidential palace as US-backed president Ashraf Ghani fled by private jet.

Defence Secretary General Lloyd Austin contradicted Biden’s assertion on Friday that remaining US citizens in Afghanistan were not at risk when he told Congress representatives that the Taliban were beating Americans trying to make their way to Kabul’s Hamid Karzai airport to be airlifted home.

Pompeo said he had heard similar reports from “folks in the region”, and had typically warlike advice for the Biden White House for how to handle the chaotic situation in Kabul, where tens of thousands of Afghans who collaborated with the 20-year US-led occupation are desperately trying to board US Air Force transport jets.

“Make it very clear that you’re not going to beg the Taliban, you’re not going to implore, not going to plead. You’re not going to pay the Taliban if Americans are harmed as they move to the airport,” he said. “You’re going to go and crush them, put real costs on them.”

No source was given in reports for Austin’s claims of abuses, nor for new Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s claim to Fox News on Sunday that terrorist group al-Qaeda, whose role in the September 11 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon was the pretext for the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, was still operating in the country.

However, at least 12 Afghan citizens have been confirmed killed in the chaos at the fortress-like airport, including seven killed in a crush to get in on Saturday, two men shot dead by US troops and three more who fell to their deaths or were crushed when a USAF C-17 was cleared for take-off with men clinging to the undercarriage.

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