Bolton Blames Trump for Afghanistan Chaos — ‘Negotiated This Deal Only with the Taliban’

Former Trump administration National Security Adviser John Bolton said Friday on CNN that former President Donald Trump’s “mistake” of negotiation with the Taliban was what led to the unfolding chaos in Afghanistan as the United States withdraws.

Bolton said, “I think Biden has been very clear for a long time. He and Trump actually see this exactly the same way. They both wanted to get out. Now, there’s finger-pointing, Biden saying we’re stuck with the Trump deal, Trump saying well, they could have done it differently. Look, the basic mistake that’s playing out here is that Trump negotiated this deal only with the Taliban. There are a lot of mistakes in the deal itself. But the fundamental problem of dealing with this terrorist organization is that the Trump negotiators delegitimized the Afghan government.”

“The government we set up — the government, with all its many, many flaws, had at least some democratic legitimacy, of which Taliban had none,” he continued. “And by delegitimizing the government, de-recognizing it in effect, we shattered the morale of the Afghan army. The army is saying, well, if the Americans won’t even protect that government, why are we going to end up protecting it? Which is why, honestly, nobody should have been surprised that the army collapsed so quickly when Biden announced the final withdrawal.”

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