But some of the criticism from former Trump administration officials has departed from the truth.
Here’s a fact check of their claims.
Mike Pence claims the US-Taliban peace deal led to unusual ‘stability’ in Afghanistan
“In the past 18 months, the U.S. has not suffered a single combat casualty there. By the time we left office, the Afghan government and the Taliban each controlled their respective territories, neither was mounting major offensives, and America had only 2,500 U.S. troops in the country—the smallest military presence since the war began in 2001,” Pence wrote.
“The anguish caused by the armed conflict continued to be widespread and felt in cities and rural areas by people of all ages, genders, ethnicities and social-economic backgrounds,” the UN said in its annual report on the war — in which it noted that civilian casualties were up 45% in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.
The total number of Afghan civilian casualties recorded by the UN for 2020, 8,820, was the lowest since 2013 — but it was still higher than in any of the five years between 2009 and 2013. (The UN began this systematic monitoring in 2009; actual war casualties are often higher than documented casualties.) So even by this basic metric, there is no case that there was a stability unseen “in decades.”
Ahmadzai also argued that Trump’s US-Taliban deal “paved the way for further potential instability by undermining the legitimacy of the very government President Trump and previous administrations had been supporting.”
Experts also took issue with other parts of Pence’s op-ed, including its headline: “Mike Pence: Biden Broke Our Deal With the Taliban.”
In the piece, Pence argued that, under Trump, “Taliban leaders understood that the consequences of violating the deal would be swift and severe.” But experts on Afghanistan say the Taliban had never actually lived up to its commitments in the deal.
Nikki Haley criticizes negotiations with the Taliban
Facts First: Haley didn’t mention that the Trump administration itself negotiated with the Taliban — and that she had herself spoken favorably of those peace negotiations while serving in the administration.
“U.S. force levels in Afghanistan have reached 2,500. Directed by President Trump,” Miller’s statement said, “and as I announced on November 17, this drawdown brings U.S. forces in the country to their lowest levels since 2001.
We’re not disputing Haley’s negative assessment of the Taliban. However, her tweet completely ignored the Trump administration’s own negotiations and her previous praise of the strategy.
Christopher Miller claims Trump promise of full withdrawal was just a ruse
Facts First: While we don’t know what Trump may have discussed with Miller in secret, statements from other administration officials and even Trump himself cast doubt on Miller’s claim. Trump has repeatedly said publicly, even after leaving office, that his plan was to bring home “all” of the troops. A former Trump administration senior official told CNN’s Jake Tapper that Miller’s claim is false.