Former President Donald Trump warned that China could take over Bagram Air Base after the US military abandoned it during the Biden administration’s “surrender” of Afghanistan this summer.
The 45th president blamed the Biden White House of attempting to sweep the chaotic withdrawal from the war-torn country under the rug.
“They don’t talk about it anymore. They don’t talk about it, purposely,” Trump told Fox News in an interview published on Sunday. “It was so bad that it was killing him. Two, three days after it ended, they stopped even mentioning it.”
“What they did with the so-called withdrawal, which was really a surrender, what they did, it was the most embarrassing, horrible thing, and I don’t know that we ever psychologically recover from that,” he said.
Trump brokered a deal with the Taliban in 2020 for the US military to pull out of Afghanistan, ending America’s involvement in the 20-year-long war, and reducing the number of troops in the country.
“Don’t forget, I’m the one that brought it down to 2,500 troops,” he said. “I would have been out too, but we would have been out with strength. We would have come out with strength.”
The former president said that even with the planned withdrawal he negotiated for May 1, 2021, he would have kept control of the military prison at the air base that held ISIS-K prisoners.
After the US deserted the air base in July, Taliban militants freed thousands of ISIS-K terrorists from the prison, including the suicide bomber who killed 13 US service members outside the Kabul airport in August.
“We would have kept Bagram because it is next to China,” Trump said. “And it is one hour away from their nuclear facility, and we gave that up too.”
“And now China’s going to take over Bagram, in my opinion,” he continued.
Trump went on to accuse the Biden administration of committing a disastrous tactical error by pulling US troops out before evacuating American citizens and Afghan allies.
In the absence of an American force on the ground, the Taliban marched into the capital Kabul and overthrew the Afghan government.
“We would have gotten all the people out, we would have brought all of our equipment out, we wouldn’t have had dead soldiers, we wouldn’t have soldiers missing arms and legs – because people don’t even talk about that – we lost 13, but we have many that have been gravely wounded,” Trump said. “None of that would have happened.”
“It was time to get out, but the way he got out was such a disaster,” Trump said.
He also said he holds the generals who oversaw the withdrawal and advised President Biden “responsible because they should have never allowed that to happen.”
“They must have been able to talk [Biden] into reason,” Trump said. “But you have to hold them responsible also for allowing that to happen.”