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“I’m afraid we will look back and regret the decision to resign,” said Petraeus. “Unfortunately, we can regret that earlier than I originally thought when I said that right after the decision was announced.”
Petraeus, who retired as CIA director in 2011, added, “Furthermore, I think we will also look back and regret the rush with which we seem to be doing this.”
American, British and other international forces invaded Afghanistan in late 2001 in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks and quickly ousted the Taliban regime, which had supported and given refuge to Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden fled to neighboring Pakistan, where he was murdered by US forces in 2011. However, the Taliban never completely disappeared, and the war continued.
Zakaria said the Afghan armed forces had been content with letting the US take over a large part of the fight against the Taliban. Petraeus pushed that thought away.
“The Afghan National Security Forces fought and killed in great numbers. And they still do. The problem now is that they are not sure if someone is coming to their aid and that brings a great deal of uncertainty to the battlefield. “” He said.
Zakaria also cited reasons for American frustration with the war in Afghanistan, including the inability to reach Taliban bases in Pakistan.
The retired general sympathized with this perspective, but said the withdrawal of American troops would not end the fighting there.
“Nobody wants endless wars to be ended more than those who actually served in them, but we’re not ending this war, we’re ending US involvement in it,” he said.
Petraeus also said to Zakaria: “What I am unfortunately seeing now is the beginning of a rather brutal civil war.”