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Bush reacts to Taliban takeover, cites ‘choices’ Afghan people can make

In this AFP file photo former US President George W. Bush (L) gestures as he speaks during a joint press conference with former Afghan President Hamid Karzai (R) at the Presidential Palace, on March 1, 2006 in Kabul.

Twenty years after ordering invasion of Afghanistan, former US President George W. Bush is voicing “deep sadness,” over America’s defeat and the return of the Taliban.

The Republican president made the comments in a statement along with his wife, Lara Bush, amid the swift takeover of the government in Kabul by Taliban militants.

"Like our country, Afghanistan is also made up of resilient, vibrant people. Nearly 65 percent of the population is under twenty-five years old. The choices they will make for opportunity, education, and liberty will also determine Afghanistan’s future," the statement read.

Bush made the decision to capture Afghanistan on the pretext of retaliating for the 9/11 attacks, which the US blamed on the al-Qaeda terrorist group.

In his statement, the former president thanked the US forces, making the situation in Afghanistan sound like a victory.

"Many of you deal with wounds of war, both visible and invisible," the statement read. "And some of your brothers and sisters in arms made the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror. Each day, we have been humbled by your commitment and your courage. You took out a brutal enemy and denied Al Qaeda a safe haven while building schools, sending supplies, and providing medical care. You kept America safe from further terror attacks, provided two decades of security and opportunity for millions, and made America proud. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts and will always honor your contributions."

Bush had previously decried the idea of a full US withdrawal, warning that women and girls would be “left behind to be slaughtered by these very brutal people.”

 “And it breaks my heart,” Bush said in an interview last month.

Bush’s war made Washington spend trillions of dollars only to leave in defeat today after leaving hundreds of thousands of Afghan civilians dead.

Events unfolding fast in Afghanistan are complicating the power play in US politics as various factions engage in a blame game to evade accountability.

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