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Bush criticizes Afghanistan withdrawal, says he fears for women

President George W. Bush talks with US troops, December 14, 2008 at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President George W. Bush talks with US troops, December 14, 2008 at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Former President George W. Bush criticizes the Western withdrawal from Afghanistan in an interview with a German broadcaster, saying he fears that Afghan women and girls will “suffer unspeakable harm.”

Asked in an interview with German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle whether the withdrawal is a mistake, Bush replies: “You know, I think it is, yeah, because I think the consequences are going to be unbelievably bad.”

The war in Afghanistan began under Bush after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Washington gave Taliban leader Mullah Omar an ultimatum: hand over al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and dismantle militant training camps or prepare to be attacked. Omar refused, and a US-led coalition launched an invasion in October.

The withdrawal of US and NATO troops set in motion earlier this year by current US President Joe Biden is now nearing completion. Taliban fighters have been surging through district after district, taking control of large swaths of the country.

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