Former US national security adviser John Bolton has insisted that the United States did not lose the war in Afghanistan, but has simply “walked away from it.”
In an interview on Friday, Bolton also denounced US President Joe Biden’s order for a full military withdrawal from the country which the US invaded some 20 years ago using the pretext of the September 11 terrorist attacks though no Afghan was involved in the incidents.
“We weren’t defeated,” said Bolton, who served as a high-ranking State Department official under former Republican President George W. Bush at the time of the initial US military invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001.
“You have to be defeated to lose a war. We’ve given up because we’ve lost patience. That’s a sad commentary about the current administration, but it’s not a defeat for the United States,” he added.
On Wednesday, Bush himself denounced the US military drawdown from Afghanistan.
Bush said that Biden’s withdrawal was a mistake that would yield “unbelievably bad and sad” consequences. Afghan women and girls, in particular, could “suffer unspeakable harm” at the hands of the Taliban.
On Friday, Bolton called Bush’s comments “something really remarkable.”
“It’s how former presidents ought to behave. He’s tried to stay out of politics, and it’s been very rare when he’s come forward and said anything like the passage you just showed,” Bolton said, referring to Bush’s interview.
Biden however has strongly defended his decision to pull US troops out of Afghanistan, confirming the US military offensive will end on Aug. 31, ahead of his original Sept. 11 deadline.
Speaking in the White House East Room on July 8, Biden said continuing the war would only lead to further casualties.
“I will not send another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan with no reasonable expectation of achieving a different outcome,” Biden said.
This comes after the Pentagon has announced earlier the troop withdrawal from the war-torn country was already more than 90% complete.
At its peak in mid-2011, nearly 100,000 US troops passed through the compound, apart from some 35,000 US contractors, which have now plummeted to 2,500 troops and 18,000 contractors.
The full withdrawal of some 2,500 US troops from the country is expected to complete by mid or late July, ahead of Biden’s September 11 deadline.
The US will reportedly leave hundreds of troops in Afghanistan even after the promised withdrawal from the war-torn country.
About 650 American troops are likely to stay in Afghanistan to provide security at the US Embassy after US forces leave the country later this summer, The Associated Press reported earlier this month. Hundreds of more troops will also stay at the Kabul airport.
The US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 under the pretext of the so-called war against terror.
Washington has spent trillions of dollars waging war on the impoverished country, which has left thousands of Afghan civilians and American soldiers dead.