Afghanistan: Robert Gallucci on Trump’s handling of war

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Robert Gallucci took up his post after President Ronald Reagan became embroiled in an arms race with the Soviet Union Robert Gallucci served as the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan…

Afghanistan: Robert Gallucci on Trump's handling of war

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Robert Gallucci took up his post after President Ronald Reagan became embroiled in an arms race with the Soviet Union

Robert Gallucci served as the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan between 1991 and 1993.

He is director of the Washington-based Institute for Statecraft and a retired US Marine Corps lieutenant general.

He told the BBC he was “terribly disappointed” in U.S. President Donald Trump’s latest handling of the Afghanistan situation.

“We did such a good job in Afghanistan over the years. It came full circle,” he said.

The U.S has effectively doubled the size of its military mission in Afghanistan – for the sake of the Taliban, said the 66-year-old, adding that “nobody left as a backer” as to how things were headed.

“It feels like it is ending badly with an ugly final phase.”

‘It’s not good for anyone’

The remarks are in contrast to Mr Trump’s promise a year ago that U.S. troops would “support and advise” and not be “fighting and dying”.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption U.S. President Donald Trump has reportedly said that he may double the number of troops in Afghanistan.

Mr Gallucci has made his feelings about the United States withdrawal from the war-torn country very clear. He said to leave it there “is really not good for anyone”.

Mr Trump last week authorised an increase in the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, which he said will boost the fight against the Taliban.

Image copyright EPA Image caption Taliban have vowed to step up attacks on Afghan troops

In response to his remarks, Mr Trump tweeted: “We fought the war in Afghanistan to end the terrorist safe havens that attacked America. Unfortunately, we were wrong. I will not allow Afghanistan to again be a source of violent death for Americans.”

The Taliban are also stepping up attacks against Afghan troops, US special forces and other foreign forces.

Fighting is a way of life for the Taliban in their impoverished southern homeland, but their use of suicide bombers and limited weaponry means they do not pose the same threats as al-Qaeda.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption One of the biggest problems has been the failure to build and equip Afghan forces

In its annual report, the U.S. Central Command (Centcom) said Pakistan, which shelters militants, is hindering U.S. efforts to combat the Taliban.

But Mr Gallucci thinks the Pakistan government has “done far more than anyone else” to help bring stability to Afghanistan, and was also delighted at the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011.

“The mission was noble, morally and factually,” he said.

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