Pompeo Says He Personally Threatened Mullah Baradar, U.S. Knows 'Exactly Where' You Live

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that he—and not President Joe Biden—had the strength to personally threaten Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar with U.S. aggression, prompting critics to note the Trump administration was responsible for the newly ascended Afghan leader's release from prison.

Pompeo met with Baradar and other Taliban leaders in Doha, Qatar, in February 2020 to spearhead the Trump administration's peace agreement talks. But despite having led the Afghanistan withdrawal discussions with Baradar last year, the former U.S. secretary of state accused Biden of "leading with weakness" as the U.S. military pulls out of the 20-year war in Afghanistan. Pompeo spoke with oil and gas executives Monday in Wichita, Kansas, claiming the Taliban appears to have "chased us out of town" as Biden finishes the final troop withdrawal started during the previous Trump administration.

"[Biden] lacks the American resolve to use our power," Pompeo told attendees of the Kansas Independent Oil & Gas Association convention Monday, touting he and other Trump administration members for having projected strength, rather than weakness in Afghanistan.

Pompeo then recalled telling Baradar "we knew exactly where his house was" in threatening personal remarks to the Taliban leader during February 2020 peace talks. Pompeo went on to characterize current Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the Biden administration as appearing weak by comparison in their approach to Afghanistan.

"The fact that we didn't make clear to the Taliban that if they chased us out of town, we were going to chase them back into their town. This is a horrific set of foreign policy," Pompeo said Monday. "It is begging. It is apologizing for America."

Middle East correspondent for the The Guardian, Julian Borger, described Baradar as "the undisputed victor of the 20-year war" in Afghanistan as he and other Taliban leaders have seized power in Kabul amid the U.S. withdrawal. Baradar had been imprisoned in Pakistan for nearly a decade before the Trump White House requested his release in 2019. Pompeo at the time had portrayed the Taliban as important counterterrorism allies for the United States—a tone he has since pulled back on.

Baradar, who fought in the mujahideen against the Soviet Union in the 1980s, is currently being hailed by Middle East analysts and foreign heads of state as the next leader of Afghanistan. Biden on Monday announced that Afghan troops have all the resources needed to fight the Taliban. Biden went on to highlight a foreign policy opinion stance once shared by Pompeo and numerous other high-level Republican lawmakers during the Trump era: "American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war, that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves," the president said.

The CIA reportedly tracked down Baradar and had him arrested in 2010 by Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence agency agents. He went on to serve nearly a decade behind bars in the country before Western diplomats including Pompeo finally brought he and other Taliban heads in to start Afghanistan peace talks in 2018.

The Taliban's Mullah Ghani Baradar (seen here last year with Pomepo after signing Trump's deal) is on his way from Qatar to Kandahar to become Afghanistan's president. He spent a decade in a Pakistani prison, then sat opposite the US negotiating in Doha, and now leads the country pic.twitter.com/u3kszAgDy1

— Imtiaz Tyab (@ImtiazTyab) August 17, 2021

Despite Pompeo's role in bringing Baradar and the Taliban to the table, he joined countless Republicans and Trump in blasting the Biden White House's "chaotic" withdrawal from Afghanistan ahead of its September 11 deadline.

"You can be sure that Chairman Kim, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin are all watching what's happening in Afghanistan today," Pompeo said Monday. "So, I pray that we get this right. I pray that the Biden administration figures this out and they begin to behave in the way that we need."

Newsweek reached out to representatives for the former secretary of state as well as the White House on Tuesday morning for additional remarks.

mullah abdul ghani baradar pompeo
Despite having led the Afghanistan withdrawal discussions with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar last year, former U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo has accused President Joe Biden of "leading with weakness" as the U.S. military pulls out of Afghanistan. Then–Secretary of State Pompeo, left, meets with Baradar in Doha, Qatar, on November 21, 2020. PATRICK SEMANSKY / POOL / AFP/Getty Images