President Joe Biden released a statement Saturday from the White House blaming the influx of U.S. troops to combat the Taliban’s surging land acquisition in Afghanistan on the policies of former President Donald Trump.
Biden said in the statement that he inherited a tenuous situation from the previous administration, claiming that Trump had cut a deal with the Taliban in 2019 that put them in a powerful military position. Biden also criticized Trump’s decision to roll back American forces stationed in the country.
“When I came to office, I inherited a deal cut by my predecessor — which he invited the Taliban to discuss at Camp David on the eve of 9/11 of 2019 — that left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001 and imposed a May 1, 2021 deadline on U.S. forces,” Biden said. “Shortly before he left office, he also drew U.S. forces down to a bare minimum of 2,500.”
Biden announced that he was raising the total number of troops in Afghanistan to 5,000 despite both Biden and Trump previously working toward withdrawing U.S. military presence in the nation.
The president said that he was forced to make a decision between honoring the deal with the Taliban established under the Trump administration or bolster the U.S. presence in Afghanistan.
“Therefore, when I became President, I faced a choice — follow through on the deal, with a brief extension to get our forces and our allies’ forces out safely, or ramp up our presence and send more American troops to fight once again in another country’s civil conflict,” he wrote.
Despite the surge of U.S. troops into Afghanistan, Biden wrote that he is dedicated to ending the war, saying, “I was the fourth President to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan — two Republicans, two Democrats. I would not, and will not, pass this war onto a fifth.”