Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) blasted both Presidents Joe Biden and Donald Trump for the “catastrophic real-time” situation unfolding in Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the government Sunday, arguing that the bulk of the blame should be towards the former president who bears “significant responsibility” over the current Democrat botched handling of withdrawal of troops.
During an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” guest host Jonathan Karl asked Cheney which president should “bear [the] responsibility” that led to the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan within a week.
“Look, I think absolutely President Biden bears responsibility for making this decision. But there is no question that President Trump, his administration, Secretary Pompeo, they also bear very significant responsibility for this,” Cheney responded.
“They walked down this path of legitimizing the Taliban, of perpetuating this fantasy, telling the American people that the Taliban was a partner for peace. President Trump told us the Taliban was going to fight terror. Secretary Pompeo told us the Taliban was going to renounce al Qaeda. None of that has happened. None of it has happened,” Cheney added.
The Wyoming Republican and member of the House Armed Services Committee warned that terrorist groups worldwide will now be empowered with new soldiers following the Taliban releasing prisoners who are set to join the battle “war on terror.”
“Today, as we watch the Taliban, for example, release prisoners across Afghanistan, there’s very real concern that there are not just fighters in those prisons who will join the battle in Afghanistan, but the terrorist groups globally will, in fact, be fed new soldiers in their war on terror from those prisons. It’s a devastating set of circumstances but the delegitimization of the Afghan government,” Cheney said.
Last year, the Afghan government released 5,000 Taliban prisoners to initiate peace talks, a decision President Ashraf Ghani called a “big mistake” that only strengthened the insurgents. Among those freed was Abdul Basir Salangi, who killed two U.S. military personnel in Kabul back in 2011.
Cheney — whose father, Vice President Dick Cheney, was the key architect that initiated the Afghanistan war shortly after the September 11 attacks, criticized the non-hawkish war types who argue for the “end of endless wars,” calling the statement a campaign slogan that in essence has no meaning. Both Trump and Biden, as presidential candidates, used that campaign slogan, a view that Cheney argued was “fundamentally dangerous, irresponsible and wrong.”
“This disaster certainly began — and look, the notion of we will end endless wars, that campaign slogan, what we’re watching in Afghanistan is what happens when America withdraws from the world,” Cheney asserted. “So, everybody who has been saying ‘America needs to withdraw, America needs to retreat,’ you’re getting a devastating, catastrophic real timeless lesson in what that means.”
“What we’re seeing now is the opposite of ending the war,” Cheney continued. “What we’re seeing now is a policy that will ensure that we will, in fact, have to have our children and grandchildren continuing to fight this war. So everybody — the Rand Paul, Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, Joe Biden view of the world here is fundamentally dangerous and irresponsible and wrong.”
“This has been an epic failure across the board, one we’re going to pay for for years to come,” Cheney added.
The Wyoming congresswoman also noted that the United States would suffer the ramifications following Biden’s botched withdrawal handling.
“It’s going to have ramifications not just for Afghanistan, not just for the war on terror, but globally for America’s role in the world. Our allies are questioning this morning whether they can count on us for anything,” she said.
Before her Sunday morning show appearances, Cheney suggested that Trump shared some of the blame exacerbated by Biden over his chaotic troop withdrawal that led to the collapse of Afghanistan.
“The Trump/Biden calamity unfolding in Afghanistan began with the Trump administration negotiating with terrorists and pretending they were partners for peace, and is ending with American surrender as Biden abandons the country to our terrorist enemies,” Cheney tweeted Saturday.