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14.07.2021 Asia

'Civiliains will be slaughtered,' says Bush of US withdrawal from Afghanistan

By Michael Fitzpatrick - RFI
Getty/AFP/Archivos
LISTEN JUL 14, 2021
Getty/AFP/Archivos

US former president George W. Bush has criticised the withdrawal of Nato troops from Afghanistan, saying that civilians are being left to be "slaughtered" by the Taliban.

"Afghan women and girls are going to suffer unspeakable harm. This is a mistake... They're just going to be left behind to be slaughtered by these very brutal people, and it breaks my heart," Bush told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

The Republican former president, who sent troops to Afghanistan in autumn 2001 after the September 11 attacks on New York's World Trade Center, said he believed German Chancellor Angela Merkel "feels the same way".

Bush said Merkel, who is set to retire from politics later this year after 16 years in power, had brought "class and dignity to a very important position and made very hard decisions".

US and Nato forces began withdrawing from Afghanistan in early May and are due to completely pull out by 11 September, some 20 years after they arrived in the war-torn country.

Taliban push for military domination

Most of the 2,500 US and 7,500 Nato troops who were in Afghanistan when US President Joe Biden agreed the final withdrawal in April have now gone, leaving Afghan troops to fight an emboldened Taliban seemingly bent on a military victory.

The country is facing a crisis as the insurgents snap up territory across the countryside, stretching government forces and leading to a fresh wave of internally displaced families, complicated by a renewed outbreak of Covid-19.

The United Nations said on Sunday the escalating conflict is causing "more suffering" across the violence-wracked country as it called for increased financial aid.

Biden has insisted that it is time for US involvement in the war to end and for Afghans to chart their own future.

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