'20 Years Was Not Enough': Condoleezza Rice Thinks Troops Withdrawal From Afghanistan Was Premature
03:39 GMT 18.08.2021 (Updated: 03:59 GMT 18.08.2021)
© AP Photo / Kamran JebreiliFormer US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice attends the opening ceremony of the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference, ADIPEC, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
© AP Photo / Kamran Jebreili
As the United States approached the completion of its withdrawal from the war-torn country, the situation in Afghanistan has escalated in recent weeks, when the Taliban* launched a rapid offensive across the country and occupied all border crossings, and on August 15 entered Kabul and took control of the presidential palace.
Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice believes that the US hastened to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, which led to the seizure of power by the radical Taliban*, the now political scientist wrote in an op-ed in the Washington Post on Tuesday.
"Twenty years was not enough to complete a journey from the 7th-century rule of the Taliban and a 30-year civil war to a stable government. Twenty years may also not have been enough to consolidate our gains against terrorism and assure our own safety," the prominent Bush administration official said. "We — and they — needed more time."
According to Rice, as "the time will come to assess where we failed — and what we achieved," in the light of the fall of Kabul, a "corrosive and deeply unfair" narrative emerged, in accordance with which the people of Afghanistan are blamed for everything that happened after the US pullout.
The former state secretary even quoted President Joe Biden's Monday address, in which he said that the US has given Afghans "every chance to determine their own future."
"No — they didn’t choose the Taliban," Rice argued. "In the end, the Afghans couldn’t hold the country without our airpower and our support. It is not surprising that Afghan security forces lost the will to fight, when the Taliban warned that the United States was deserting them and that those who resisted would see their families killed."
She also objected to the view that Afghanistan is the longest war in US history, comparing the intervention to the situation on the Korean peninsula, noting that South Korea has not achieved democracy for decades. Rice noted that the US still has a total of 28,000 US troops in the country, considering that the South Korean army not strong enough to fight North Korea.
"Here’s what we achieved: a stable equilibrium on the Korean Peninsula, a valuable South Korean ally and a strong presence in the Indo-Pacific," she stressed.
Rice is convinced that more time for the US presence in the country would not require the support of a large contingent, "just a core American presence for training, air support and intelligence," but it would help to support the strategic interests of the US in the region and prevent such a rapid fall of Kabul.
"The pictures of the past few days will emblazon an image of America in retreat. Now is the time to reinforce our commitment to Ukraine, Iraq and particularly Taiwan," Rice stated.
Rice ended her article with a call for the current administration, in light of the recent comparisons of the fall of Kabul and the capital of South Vietnam, Saigon, in 1975, to repeat the lesson of that war and "urgently provide refuge for the Afghans who believed in us."
17 August 2021, 19:13 GMT
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani left the country to, as he put it, prevent the massacre, effectively resigning and thus leaving the country without the government.
However, on August 16, a representative of the Taliban political office, Mohammad Naim, said that the war in Afghanistan was over, and the form of government in the state would be determined in the near future.
Moreover, during the Tuesday press conference, the movement pledged to support the rights and the rule of law in the country, providing certain freedoms to citizens. They also initiated a general amnesty, confirming that they will not persecute those Afghans who helped the American troops during the war.
*Taliban, a terrorist group banned in Russia and a number of other countries