Former President George W. Bush believes there will be consequences for the United States pulling out of Afghanistan.
Bush, a Republican who was responsible for the 2001 invasion of the Middle Eastern country, told Deutsche Welle that withdrawing is a mistake.
“Because I think the consequences are going to be unbelievably bad and sad,” he said.
The vacuum left by the withdrawal of both United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization troops, which is almost complete, enables the Taliban, which follow Islam, an opportunity to gain more power, putting women and children in danger, according to Bush.
“I’m afraid Afghan women and girls are going to suffer unspeakable harm,” he said. “They’re just going to be left behind to be slaughtered by these very brutal people, and it breaks my heart.”
Bush authorized the invasion of Afghanistan while in office shortly after terrorists attacked America on Sept. 11, 2001, ramming planes into the Twin Towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington.
Former President Donald Trump, a Republican, initiated the U.S. withdrawal and it has continued under President Joe Biden.
The withdrawal process is more than 90 percent complete, U.S. Central Command said last week.
Biden, a Democrat in his first term, said on July 8 that the drawdown will be complete by September.
No lives have been lost so far during the withdrawal because of careful management, he said in remarks made from Washington.
“The United States did what we went to do in Afghanistan: to get the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 and to deliver justice to Osama Bin Laden, and to degrade the terrorist threat to keep Afghanistan from becoming a base from which attacks could be continued against the United States. We achieved those objectives. That’s why we went,” he said.
“We did not go to Afghanistan to nation-build. And it’s the right and the responsibility of the Afghan people alone to decide their future and how they want to run their country.”
Trump offered a similar rationale, telling reporters last year that “we’re really not acting as soldiers; we’re acting as police.” But the military is “meant to be a fighting force,” he added.