Donald Trump has reiterated his scathing criticism of Joe Biden’s troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, describing the debacle as “America’s greatest embarrassment”. The former President also had some harsh words to share about the Afghan army that capitulated to the Taliban in little more than a hundred days after receiving billions in aid from the United States and Nato allies.
Speaking to Sean Hannity on Fox News, Trump said: “It is a terrible time for our country. I don’t think in all of the years our country has ever been so humiliated. I don’t know what you call it – a military defeat or a psychological defeat, there has never been anything like what’s happened here: You can go back to Jimmy Carter with the hostages.”
Trump said he was dismayed at Biden’s handling of the withdrawal and blasted his successor for taking the military out of Afghanistan first, leaving thousands of American civilians and Afghan interpreters to fend for themselves.
“I’m America first,” asserted Trump. “The Americans come out first. But we’re also going to help people that helped us, and we have to be very careful with the vetting because we have some rough people in there.
“What we were going to do is take the military out last, ok, last!”
He added that another top priority was to remove military equipment “because I knew that they weren’t going to fight”.
The Telegraph reports Nato has supplied $440m worth of weapons and equipment to Afghan forces since 2007. $72m of materiel has been delivered this year alone with the most recent consignment arriving as recently as 2 August.
The weapons left behind range from tanks, helicopters and missiles, which Trump took issue with in particular, as well as rifles, body armour and communications equipment. Around 1,000 Humvees have been given to the Afghan army by the Americans.
It is understood mechanics disabled aircraft and tanks before being overrun, but the concern is the ruthless Taliban will hunt down engineers and pilots and coerce them into getting equipment running again.
“I was going to take it [the weapons] out,” continued Trump. “I knew that they weren’t going to fight… The fact is, they are among the highest-paid soldiers in the world.
“They were doing it for a paycheque because once we stopped, once we left, they stopped fighting so all the talk of the bravery and everything, the fact is that our country was paying the Afghan soldiers a fortune so we were sort of bribing them to fight and that’s not what it’s all about.
“It’s a great thing that we’re getting out, but nobody has ever handled a withdrawal worse than Joe Biden. This is the greatest embarrassment, I believe, in the history of our country.”