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George W. Bush Joins Critics of Afghanistan Withdrawal

The Trump-Biden isolationist axis on Afghanistan took another political hit today. It certainly won’t stop the needless sacrifice of the Afghan people, or even slow it down, but it was another sign that not all Americans are prepared to meekly accept defeat to the Taliban and al Qaeda.

Joining the small but growing chorus of concern was George W. Bush (NBC News [1]).

Former President George W. Bush called the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan a mistake because he fears how the Taliban will treat Afghan women, children and other innocent people.

“I’m afraid Afghan women and girls are going to suffer unspeakable harm,” the former president told German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle from his house in Maine in an interview released Wednesday.

Asked if it’s a mistake to pull troops out of the country, Bush said, “I think it is, yeah, because I think the consequences are going to be unbelievably bad, and I’m sad.”

“I think about all the interpreters and people that helped not only U.S. troops, but NATO troops and they’re just, it seems like they’re just going to be left behind to be slaughtered by these very brutal people, and it breaks my heart.”

The former president has a long line of critics; I’ve been one of them myself from time to time. That said, he was always resolute about the need to protect America, her allies, and democracy around the world. Sadly, none of this successors shared that.

Almost as if on cue, Agence France Presse reported just how right Bush is (via Dawn [2]).

In Yawan district on the Tajikistan border, the Taliban gathered residents at a local mosque after taking over.

“Their commanders told us that nobody is allowed to leave home at night,” Nazir Mohammad, 32, told AFP.

“And no person — especially the youths — can wear red and green clothes,” he said, referring to the colours of the Afghan flag.

Their orders didn’t stop there.

“Everybody should wear a turban and no man can shave,” said Mohammad.

“Girls attending schools beyond sixth grade were barred from classes.”

The Taliban did dispute a supposed order for “a list of girls above 15 and widows under 45 to be married to Taliban fighters.” Then again, they’ve also promised to respect human rights and cut ties with al Qaeda. They’ve done neither.

The words of H.R. McMaster still ring in my ears (WaPo [3]).

“It’s just a travesty,” said McMaster, predicting failure. “We will pay the price, and we’ll be back. We’ll have to go back, and at a much higher cost.”