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Ex-CIA chief warns against complete US military exit from Afghanistan

10 Aug 2019 1TV News

2019-08-10 | 55 second ago

Under no circumstances should the Trump administration repeat the mistake its predecessor made in Iraq and agree to a total withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, former director of US Central Intelligence Agency David Petraeus has said.

“A complete military exit from Afghanistan today would be even more ill-advised and risky than the Obama administration’s disengagement from Iraq in 2011,” Petraeus said in an article published by the Wall Street Journal.

“Iraq had largely been stabilized by the time the last U.S. combat elements left, with al Qaeda having been routed during the 2007 surge. In Afghanistan, by contrast, the Taliban are far from defeated, while some 20 foreign terrorist organizations like al Qaeda and ISIS retain a presence in the region. It is unlikely that any will join a peace deal,” Petraeus said.

Petraeus warned that a full withdrawal would follow a “full-blown civil war and the re-establshment of a terrorist sanctuary as existed when the 9/11 attacks were planned there.”

He said that Taliban’s resistance to a formal cease-fire, continued attacks on civilians, and opposition to upcoming elections are all warring signs.

The retired general also rejected the idea of “offshore” counterterrorism strategy as “fantasy.”

“Unlike Yemen or Somalia, landlocked Afghanistan is distant from U.S. air bases. For all the wizardry of technology, drones can fly only so fast and stay aloft only so long,” Petraeus said.

He said that the US could reacted more rapidly to counter IS in Iraq had it kept a few thousand combat troops there.

“The Trump administration should apply the lessons of that tragic experience to the present situation in South Asia,” Petraeus said. “Simply put, the kind of U.S. withdrawal that was inadvisable in Iraq eight years ago would be indefensible for Afghanistan today.”

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