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David Petraeus: Afghanistan falling apart after 20 years of US war

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Retired US Gen. David Petraeus speaks during conference in 2018. (AP file photo)

Former US commander in Afghanistan and CIA director Gen. David Petraeus has said Afghanistan is falling apart as the United States is withdrawing troops from the country after 20 years of war in the country. 

In an interview with CNN on Sunday, the retired US general said, "The situation on the ground has become increasingly dire with each passing week."

"I fear we will look back and regret the decision to withdraw," Petraeus said. "Sadly, we may regret that sooner than I had originally thought when I said that right after the decision was announced."

"Beyond that, I think we will also look back and regret the hasty way in which we seem to be doing this,” added Petraeus, who retired from the Army to become director of the CIA in 2011. 

US President Joe Biden has announced that American troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan, and he recently moved up the date of the final departure to August 31, as the Taliban claimed that they now control 85 percent of the country’s territory.  

The US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 on the pretext of fighting terrorism and removing the Taliban from power, but after the 20 years of war the country now looks descending into chaos and the Taliban knocking on Kabul’s door. Some high-profile Americans are now suggesting that the US war should not end. 

Petraeus praised the Afghan National Security Forces for their fight against the Taliban, saying they “had been fighting and dying in very large numbers. And they still are. The problem now is they're not sure if someone is coming to the rescue, and that injects a very considerable amount of uncertainty into the battlefield.” 

The retired CIA chief went on to argue that withdrawing American troops was not going to end the fighting in Afghanistan.  

"No one wants to see endless wars ended more than those who have actually served in them, but we are not ending this war, we are ending US involvement in it," he said.

Petraeus also said, "What I see now, sadly, is the onset of what is going to be quite a brutal civil war."

The US withdrawal from the country comes amidst surge in violence and takeover of multiple districts in northern parts of the country by the Taliban militant group.

Biden also said that “the likelihood there will be one unified government in Afghanistan controlling the whole country is highly unlikely.”

The US president has faced criticism at home over the withdrawal, although his Republican predecessor Donald Trump had brokered an agreement with the Taliban to end US involvement in the war.

He has also been accused by Afghan politicians and human rights activists of abandoning the country at a time when the Taliban and its affiliates have upped the ante.

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 hundreds of thousands of Afghans dead.

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