Former President Donald Trump on Thursday blasted the chaotic and deadly evacuation of Americans and Afghan allies from Afghanistan, saying he’d "never have allowed it to happen."
In an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, Trump declared that during his administration, the U.S. troops withdrawal was "all buttoned up."
"I would never have allowed it to happen," he said of the chaos that erupted over a week ago as desperate Afghans began to descend on the airport in Kabul to get out of the Taliban-controlled country.
"We were all set," Trump said of his own plan for troop withdrawal that he worked out with the Taliban. "We were starting to bring people home, and we take out time. There was no rush.
"We would have left, and when we were gone, they wouldn’t have any weapons," Trump asserted. "They wouldn’t have a nail. They wouldn’t have a screw. They wouldn’t have had any weapons."
But he conceded "it’s a much tougher situation than we had three months ago" currently in Afghanistan amid the massive evacuations.
The interview apparently occurred before the shocking news broke of two deadly suicide attacks in Kabul.
Trump said he can guess just how the conversation went when the leader of the Taliban, Abdul Ghani Baradar, was told of the U.S. military pullout and massive evacuation.
"Somebody went up to Abdul, who’s the leader of the Taliban … smart, and he’s strong … Somebody went up to him and said 'Leader, they are moving the military out of Afghanistan,'" Trump said.
Trump said after the Taliban moved into Kabul and was met with little resistance — and Americans began leaving — "the word got back to Abdul, and he said 'this is the greatest day of my life. I am going to be a hero. I am going to go down in history as having defeated the Americans without even firing a bullet.'"
Trump said the situation went south in Afghanistan as soon as he left office.
"When I left, that’s when it started, they started going wild, because they were dealing with another president," he said of the Taliban.
"I watched what happened over the last week and a half with some horrible, stupid decisions that were made — number one being allowing our military to leave before the civilians and before we get all of our equipment back," he added.
Trump now believes because of President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw troops, "we could have thousands of hostages."
"We have a man that doesn’t know what the hell is happening," he asserted.
"I don’t think they know what they’re doing. Yesterday, they said 500 [evacuees left behind]. So the 35,000 all of sudden is 500, and yet most of the people taken on the plane, most of those people, as you know, are Afghans, right? So how are we down to 500? Nobody knows what the number of hostages is. I don’t think the United States has a clue. I think there are thousands of people that are hostage."
Trump said it was inconceivable troops would leave with U.S. civilians and allies left behind, recounting a story he said he told during his Alabama rally speech on Saturday.
"I was with a group, and there was a 5-year-old son of somebody," Trump recalled. "And I said 'so would you leave the soldiers, or would you pull them out?' He said 'oh, I’d leave the soldiers.'
"A 5-year old child would leave the soldiers. Anybody would leave the soldiers," Trump railed.
According to Trump, when he negotiated with the Taliban leader, "all of this takeover of all of Afghanistan, not just Kabul, all of the relationships, all of this that I had, everything, and with more than just him, it all took place, all of the taking over of Afghanistan when you see the red on the page, it got bigger and bigger, that took place after I left. And it went rapidly."
Trump said his order of withdrawal would have been first, "I would have gotten all Americans out. I would have gotten all of the people that helped us out that were in danger, if they were good people."
He said then he would have taken all military equipment out of the country.
"I would have bombed all of the bases, because I don’t want to give those bases to Russia, China, or even the Taliban," he said. "I would have bombed every base. I would have evacuated them. I would have taken out every single, and I used this expression with our woke generals, I said 'I want every single screw to be taken out.'"
Trump said he was surprised that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the chaos in Afghanistan amid a withdrawal of troops would never have happened under Trump.
"I’m surprised McConnell would have said that," Trump said of the political leader with whom he has become critical. "I got McConnell elected," Trump said, adding, "And then he went nasty."
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