Former Secretary of State Pompeo says US should 'crush the Taliban' in Kabul

Former Secretary of State Pompeo says US should 'crush the Taliban' in Kabul
Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted President Joe Biden for supposedly folding to the Taliban and claimed the US military should regain control of Afghanistan by force.
3 min read
16 August, 2021
Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with the Taliban political affairs chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Doha, Qatar, on September 12, 2020. [Getty]

The US military should intervene to take Afghanistan back from Taliban control, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a televised interview on Sunday.

Pompeo blasted President Joe Biden, who defeated Donald Trump in a contested election in November 2020, for supposedly folding to the Taliban and failing to "protect the American people from this challenge".

"They should go crush the Taliban who are surrounding Kabul, we can do it with American airpower," Pompeo told Fox News. "We should put pressure on them, we should inflict cost and pain on them."

Pompeo - who served under Trump - claimed the Trump administration had reduced the risk of terrorism in Syria and the Philippines and "we would have done it in Afghanistan as well".

He said the Taliban would not "run free and wild in Afghanistan" if he and Trump were still in office.

Pompeo was the first Secretary of State to meet with the Taliban. Asked by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace whether he regretted "giving the Taliban that legitimacy", Pompeo said "you should make peace with your enemies".

However, he insisted his administration "never trusted the Taliban".

"We didn't take the word of the Taliban, we watched their actions on the ground. When they did the right thing and helped us against terror, that was all good, and when they didn't, we crushed them," he said.

Pompeo's words were echoed by President Trump, who called on Sunday for his successor to resign over the swift takeover of Afghanistan by Taliban militants.

"It is time for Joe Biden to resign in disgrace for what he has allowed to happen to Afghanistan," Trump said in a statement.

He also blasted Biden over a surge in Covid-19 cases in the US and domestic immigration, economic, and energy policies.

It was under Trump that the US brokered a deal with the Taliban in Doha in 2020 that would have seen all American troops withdrawn by May 2021 in exchange for various security guarantees from the militants.

Just weeks before the 2020 election, the Taliban endorsed Trump for president in the hope he would wind up US military presence in Afghanistan.

When Biden took power earlier this year, he pushed back the deadline for the withdrawal and set no conditions for it.

Trump has repeatedly blasted Biden over the move, saying it would have been "a much different and much more successful withdrawal" if he were still president.

The Taliban took control of most of the country in just 10 days, despite two decades of US military presence and training.

President Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan on Sunday, effectively ceding power to the Taliban as they reached the capital Kabul to seal a nationwide military victory.