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Pompeo says Trump administration ‘never trusted the Taliban’

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that the Trump administration “never trusted to Taliban” despite its efforts to negotiate its own withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

On “Fox News Sunday,” host Chris Wallace asked Pompeo if there were any regrets about giving the Taliban legitimacy and agreeing to release prisoners believed to be back fighting with the Taliban. The group has overtaken a bulk of Afghanistan over the past few days, culminating in the near collapse of the capital of Kabul on Sunday and the evacuation of the U.S. Embassy.

“Do you regret giving the Taliban that legitimacy? Do you regret pressing the Afghan government to release 5,000 prisoners, which they did, some of whom are now back on the battlefield fighting with the Taliban?” Wallace asked Pompeo after playing a clip of the former secretary of State from March of last year in which he said Taliban negotiators would work alongside the U.S.

“Chris, you make peace with your enemies. The statement that I made that day was absolutely true. You can ask the military leaders on the ground. We did good work to crush al Qaeda. When we left office, there were fewer than 200 al Qaeda left in Afghanistan,” Pompeo said.

“Chris, we never trusted the Taliban. You can ask them yourselves. We made abundantly clear: If they did not live up to that piece of paper, to the words that they had put on the ground, we weren’t going to allow them to just walk away from any deal that they struck. We were going to go crush them,” he added. 

In March, Pompeo said, “The gentlemen that I met with agreed that they would break that relationship and that they would work alongside of us … and to have al Qaeda depart from that place.”

Pompeo oversaw negotiations with the Taliban during the Trump administration, which had come to an agreement to withdraw U.S. troops by May 1. In July, Pompeo told The Associated Press that he applauded Biden’s move to withdraw troops from the country but worried that counterterrorism efforts by the U.S. could be impacted. 

Tags Al Qaeda Chris Wallace Mike Pompeo Mike Pompeo Taliban

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