Trump Calls Taliban 'Great Negotiators, Tough Fighters' as He Knocks Biden Over Afghanistan

Former President Donald Trump on Saturday evening recognized the Taliban's skills in negotiating and fighting as he sharply criticized President Joe Biden's Afghanistan withdrawal during a rally in Alabama.

"Taliban, great negotiators, tough fighters," he told the rally in Cullman, Alabama. "Biden failed totally on the pandemic and he's now overseeing the greatest foreign policy humiliation in the history of the United States of America."

Following a week of blistering attacks against his successor, the Biden administration's withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan was predictably a central focus of Trump's speech at a rally held, in part, in support of Mo Brooks' campaign for a Senate seat.

Trump: Taliban, great negotiators. Tough fighters

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Trump spent little time promoting Brooks. He spent most of his speech condemning his successor, boasting about the Trump administration's accomplishments and pushing false allegations of voter fraud in the 2020 election.

"Vietnam looks like a masterclass in strategy compared to Joe Biden's catastrophe and it didn't have to happen," he said. "All he had to do was leave the soldiers there until everything's out, our citizens, our weapons, then you bomb the hell out of the bases."

"Not even a contest, this will go down as one of the great military defeats of all time and it did not have to happen that way. This is not a withdrawal. This was a total surrender for no reason. They weren't asking," Trump added.

This was the first time Trump has held an official rally in Alabama since 2017, though he visited the state several times during the early stages of his 2020 presidential campaign.

Although the rally was held outdoors, officials have expressed concern that it could lead to a spike in COVID-19 in a state lagging in vaccinations and surging in cases, fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant.

The city of Cullman on Thursday declared a virus-related state of emergency ahead of Trump's rally as Alabama ran out of I.C.U. beds amid an influx of hospitalizations.

Faced with backlash among Republicans, Biden has taken to the podium twice over the past week to defend his actions in Afghanistan. Both times he doubled down on the withdrawal, took responsibility for the execution and emphasized that he was focusing on stabilizing the situation.

"One more year, or five more years, of U.S. military presence would not have made a difference if the Afghan military cannot or will not hold its own country," the president said. "An endless American presence in the middle of another country's civil conflict was not acceptable to me."

Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment.

Trump Biden Afghanistan withdrawal Taliban Alabama rally
Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to hold a rally on July 3, 2021 in Sarasota, Florida. Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images