by Debra Heine
Joe Biden’s national security team reportedly ignored the Trump administration’s careful plans for withdrawing from Afghanistan, resulting in the nightmare scenario currently unfolding in the war-torn country.
Former National Security Council Senior Director Kash Patel told Just the News’ John Solomon on Thursday, “I don’t even know that anyone could have made this awful scenario up. It’s literally worse than you could possibly conjure.”
As chief of staff to Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, Patel handled the Pentagon’s transition to the Biden administration.
“There’s no plan to secure our weaponry or machinery, we’re just giving it over to terrorists,” Patel lamented. “And there’s no plan to secure a Kabul International Airport so that at least flights can get in and out.”
The former Trump official said careful plans had been developed by Trump’s team, and were offered to the Biden regime, but they were ignored.
The overarching theme was a conditions-based withdrawal, whereby the U.S. military would leave Afghanistan in increments if the Taliban met clear conditions, according to Patel. Among other things, the Taliban were required to reject and repudiate Al Qaeda, and would have to negotiate in good faith. The U.S. would also maintain a special operations contingent in place, and would retain the capacity to launch air strikes under specific circumstances.
The Trump plan included retaining control of Bagram Air Base until all Americans were withdrawn from Afghanistan. A large, sprawling site, Bagram has multiple airfields and other facilities that safely can handle significant amounts of traffic and also host a large population.
Patel told Solomon that the Biden regime’s decision to hand over control of Bagram to the Afghan forces set up the sequence of events that led to the Taliban’s seizure of the facility.
“We would not have ever relinquished control of Bagram Airfield, because that is our command and control node for the entire region,” Patel said. “And that’s where we would fly in and out securely.”
Bagram also was home to a prison where the U.S. held accused terrorists who were set to be prosecuted. Among them were alleged senior Al Qaeda operatives. The Taliban released thousands of prisoners who were considered to be a high threat to the West.
The U.S. never planned simply to release those prisoners.
“We were working with allies and partners to prosecute them either in America or prosecute them in their home countries of origin as we successfully did under President Trump,” Patel said. The prosecutions take time, he said. “We had a plan in place and we were doing it. Releasing terrorists is never an option. It was never an option under President Trump,” Patel said.
Even before the prison release, Al-Qaeda was operating in Afghanistan and rebuilding, according to multiple reports.
A United Nations Security Council report published in June said that the Taliban and Al Qaeda “remain closely aligned and show no indication of breaking ties.”
The New York Times pointed out that the U.N. report also said Al Qaeda has a presence in at least 15 Afghan provinces.
“Al Qaeda maintains contact with the Taliban but has minimized overt communications with Taliban leadership in an effort to ‘lay low’ and not jeopardize the Taliban’s diplomatic position vis-à-vis the Doha agreement,” read the report, which referenced the agreement the Trump administration had reached with the Taliban.
Despite this, Biden claimed in his remarks at the White House Friday that Al-Qaeda was “gone” from Afghanistan in an attempt to rationalize his administration’s botched handling of the withdrawal.
“What interest do we have in Afghanistan, at this point, with Al-Qaeda gone?” he asked.
During a press briefing about an hour later, the Pentagon admitted that there is indeed an al Qaeda, not to mention an ISIS presence in Afghanistan, although officials don’t have an exact headcount.
“We know al Qaeda is a presence, as well as ISIS in Afghanistan,” Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby told reporters. “We do not believe it is exorbitantly high … it’s not like they carry identification cards and register somewhere.”
The Biden Regime is under fire, of course, not for withdrawing from Afghanistan, but for the incompetent manner in which it has handled the operation.
Patal told Solomon that Trump’s plan “included a robust air presence, with armed and unarmed aircraft and drones to collect intelligence or launch air strikes,” but Team Biden appears to have jettisoned that strategy too.
In a war zone, the U.S. always is ready to enact pre-established procedures to evacuate Americans, their local allies, and their families. The situation in Kabul, particularly at the airport, where humanitarian crises were on full display, stems from a lack of proper planning, Patel said.
“The only way you are surprised by this sort of situation is if you don’t plan for it, if you don’t prepare for it,” he said. “We lost not one American casualty under President Trump’s conditions based withdrawal. Look at the chaos and death that is occurring now under Biden’s [so-called] plan for Afghanistan.”
President Trump in recent days has blasted the Biden regime repeatedly for botching the drawdown of troops from Afghanistan.
“You don’t take the military out first, you take the military out last. This is like the Captain jumping off the ship if the ship is sinking,” he told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo Wednesday.
“After you get the equipment out, you bomb the hell out of the forts so no one else can use them,” Trump added. “That’s what I was going to do.”
The former president released a statement on Thursday, reiterating his points. “First you bring out all of the American citizens. Then you bring out ALL equipment. Then you bomb the bases into smithereens—AND THEN YOU BRING OUT THE MILITARY. You don’t do it in reverse order like Biden and our woke Generals did,” he said.
On Friday, Trump said in another statement: “Leaving Americans behind for death is an unforgivable dereliction of duty, which will go down in infamy.”
Trump told Fox host Sean Hannity on that he personally told Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar during negotiations last year, that “if anything bad happens to Americans or anybody else, or if you ever come over to our land, we will hit you with a force that no country has ever been hit with before—a force so great you won’t even believe it.”
Biden tried to match Trump’s forcefulness during his remarks on Friday.
“As we continue to work the logistics of evacuation, we’re in constant contact with the Taliban working to ensure civilians have safe passage to the airport,” Biden said. “Look, we’ve made clear to the Taliban that any attack … any attack on our forces or disruption of our operation at the airport will be met with swift and forceful response,” he said, reading from the teleprompter.
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Debra Heine reports for American Greatness.