“But the Biden administration chose to stick with it. So, yeah. This is why we are where we are now. Now, it is also true that the pullout was extremely abrupt. We pulled out 16,000 contractors all at once. These are contractors that helped maintain the equipment for the Afghans. They helped keep air assets in the air. So, we literally pulled the rug out from under the Afghans. And we sort of played into the Taliban strategy,” she continued.
After years of negotiations, the Taliban and the Trump administration finally signed a peace deal in 2020. The US agreed to withdraw troops and release some 5,000 Taliban prisoners, while the Taliban agreed to take steps to prevent any group or individual, including al Qaeda, from using Afghanistan to threaten the security of the US or its allies.
But the deal didn’t bring about peace.
Following the agreement, violence in Afghanistan grew to its highest levels in two decades and the Taliban increased their control of wider swaths of the country. By June of this year, the Taliban contested or controlled an estimated 50% to 70% of Afghan territory outside of urban centers, according to a United Nations Security Council report.
Although Afghan security forces were well funded and well equipped, they put up little resistance as Taliban militants seized much of the country following the withdrawal of US troops beginning in early July.