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different views

As Pence blasts Biden on Afghanistan, former Pentagon chief Esper suggests Trump also played a role

Former Vice President Mike Pence and former Defense Secretary Mark Esper are offering slightly different views on President Biden's exit from Afghanistan.

In an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Pence argued that Biden "broke" the Trump administration's deal with the Taliban by remaining in Afghanistan four months past the deadline, and didn't have a sound evacuation strategy. "The Biden administration's disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan is a foreign policy humiliation unlike anything our country has endured since the Iran hostage crisis," he writes. "It has embarrassed America on the world stage, caused allies to doubt our dependability, and emboldened enemies to test our resolve." The Trump administration, on the other hand, had previously struck a deal that "brought to Afghanistan a stability unseen in decades," Pence continued. 

Esper, who was fired by Trump after the November election, agreed that Biden "owns" what happened in Kabul this past week, but he's not sure Trump really achieved what Pence describes. On Tuesday, he told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that the former president's desire to send American troops home from Afghanistan before the deal's conditions were met "undermined" the agreement. Last week, Esper tweeted what's become a fairly common refrain in recent days: Both administrations shoulder some responsibility for the fallout, even though he thinks their long-term objective was the right one. Read Pence's full op-ed at The Wall Street Journal.