The rushed Afghanistan withdrawal, “mishandled strategically and tactically,” has created problems that “are not going to go away,” according to former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte.
“We’re going to have to work this issue now in different ways,” Negroponte, a key Bush administration official at the start of Afghanistan War, told Sunday’s “The Cats Roundtable” on WABC 770 AM-N.Y. “We’re going to have to contain Taliban behavior if they start allowing terrorist activities to be staged out of Afghanistan. We’re going to have to respond if that happens.
“We’re going to have to deal with the humanitarian issues. We’re going to have to keep trying to get people out. You’re going to have a lot of refugees in countries like Pakistan and Iran. And you’re probably going to have humanitarian issues in Afghanistan in the winter, such as food supply.”
The chaos is the result of a “loss of political will on the part of the United States,” Negroponte told host John Catsimatidis.
“What happened shows you how fragile this sense of confidence can be on the part of another country [like Afghanistan],” he continued. “When they start seeing the support from their best friend and the biggest power in the world unravel right in front of their eyes, they lose heart and stop putting up a fight. It’s a tragedy.”
Negroponte said the writing was on the wall for the surrendering Afghanistan military when the U.S. was negotiating the withdrawal with the Taliban.
“The real turning point was when we negotiated arrangements behind the government of Afghanistan’s back to withdraw by Sept. 11,” he said. “We also insisted the Afghanistan government release 5,000 Taliban prisoners — some of the meanest people that were in detention. And then we began to predict that it wouldn’t be very long before the Afghan government would fall.
“The government and the people of Afghanistan rightly drew the conclusion that they no longer had America’s support.”