In an interview on “Fox & Friends” with hosts Steve Doocy, Pete Hegseth, and Jedediah Bila, Pompeo said that violence in the country is “actually significantly down,” prompting President Trump to take action.
“President Trump has seized the moment,” he said, though noting that Afghanistan is a “difficult place.”
“Look, we are not naive,” he said. “We all know who the Taliban are and what they have done to America. But, it’s time. It is time to seize this opportunity.”
However, the agreement with the Taliban was pre-conditioned to hold only if the terrorist group met their end of the bargain, and on Wednesday the U.S. carried out its first airstrike on the Islamist militant group since announcing the deal.
U.S. military spokesman Col. Sonny Leggett said in a tweet that the “defensive” airstrike Wednesday was conducted against four Taliban fighters who he said were “actively attacking” an Afghan National Defense and Security Force (ANDSF) checkpoint.
“To be clear – we are committed to peace, however, we have the responsibility to defend our ANDSF partners,” Leggett continued. “Afghans & US have complied (with) our agreements; however, Talibs appear intent on squandering this (opportunity) and ignoring the will of the people for peace.”
“But the Taliban have signed up to a whole series of conditions,” he said. “There’s no attacks on 34 provincial capitals, there’s no attacks on Kabul, there’s no suicide bombers, there’s no vehicle-borne suicides, no attacks against U.S. forces, no attacks against coalition [forces] — there’s a whole laundry list of these things that aren’t happening.”
“We did what President Obama had tried to do,” Pompeo told the “Friends” hosts, “which was to get the Taliban to make a public break with Al Qaeda. The very reason we went there — the reason we went there after this city was attacked, was to go destroy Al Qaeda. We have largely taken it down.”
“Al Qaeda is a shadow of its former self,” he stated. “it’s now time to turn the corner to make sure that we [are] never attacked again from Afghanistan.”
Fox News’ Brie Stimson, Lucia I. Suarez Sang, Adam Shaw, Paulina Dedaj, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.