Afghanistan troop pullout a 'mistake', says former US president George W. Bush

Published July 14, 2021
Former United States president George W. Bush said he believed German Chancellor Angela Merkel “feels the same way”. — Reuters/File
Former United States president George W. Bush said he believed German Chancellor Angela Merkel “feels the same way”. — Reuters/File

Former United States president George W. Bush on Wednesday criticised the withdrawal of Nato troops from Afghanistan and said civilians were being left to be “slaughtered” by the Taliban.

“Laura (Bush) and I spent a lot of time with Afghan women, and they're scared. And I think about all the interpreters and people that helped not only US troops but Nato troops, and it seems like they're just going to be left behind to be slaughtered by these very brutal people. And it breaks my heart,” Bush told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

Asked whether he thought the withdrawal was a mistake, Bush replied: “Yes, I think it is.”

Read: 'No smoking, no shaving' — Taliban restore old rules in newly seized Afghan territory

The former Republican president, who sent troops to Afghanistan in autumn 2001 after the September 11 attacks on New York's World Trade Centre, said he believed German Chancellor Angela Merkel “feels the same way”.

Bush said Merkel, who is set to retire from politics later this year after 16 years in power, had brought “class and dignity to a very important position and made very hard decisions”.

US and Nato forces began withdrawing from Afghanistan in early May and are due to completely pull out by September 11, some 20 years after they arrived in the war-torn country.

Most of the 2,500 US and 7,500 Nato troops who were in Afghanistan when US President Joe Biden detailed the final withdrawal in April have now gone, leaving Afghan troops to fight an emboldened Taliban seemingly bent on a military victory.

The country is facing a crisis as the insurgents snap up territory across the countryside, stretching government forces and leading to a fresh wave of internally displaced families, complicated by a renewed outbreak of Covid-19.

Read: Taliban say they control 85pc of Afghanistan

The United Nations said on Sunday the rising conflict is causing “more suffering” across the violence-wracked country as it called for continuous financial aid.

Biden has insisted, however, that it is time for US involvement in the war to end and for Afghans to chart their own future.

Opinion

Editorial

Urgent challenge
Updated 02 Mar, 2024

Urgent challenge

The incoming finance team will have to prioritise economic decisions over political considerations and personal whims.
Contempt ruling
02 Mar, 2024

Contempt ruling

AN Islamabad High Court decision penalising the city’s deputy commissioner, a senior superintendent of police and ...
Streets of death
02 Mar, 2024

Streets of death

A LIFE without a sense of permanence is one aspect of a human crisis as complex as homelessness. But the fact that...
Starting over
Updated 01 Mar, 2024

Starting over

Both govt and opposition must resolve that their decisions will prioritise the public good over anything else.
Missing the point
01 Mar, 2024

Missing the point

IN a change of heart, the caretaker prime minister attended the hearing of the Baloch missing persons’ case in the...
Fleecing power consumers
01 Mar, 2024

Fleecing power consumers

THE so-called independent inquiry committee, formed by the power ministry to probe charges of excessive billing by...