Experts Discuss U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan

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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: So let me ask you, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen who monitored or rather oversaw so many of the troops there, is this a gamble that you think will pay off? What do you think right now when you hear the burden being put on the Afghan forces as the Taliban is sweeping up territory shortly before the U.S. pulls its final soldier out?

ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, FORMER NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: Well, I think the objective of this decision is right, but the timing is wrong. The objective is right because we should leave it to the Afghans to decide the future of Afghanistan, we shouldn’t be there forever, it’s not an occupation force. But we should have told the Taliban, we will leave but not until you stop the tax on the legitimate government. And the mistake was to approve a so-called peace deal where the United States promised to leave Afghanistan on a certain date because the Taliban just waited us out and that’s what we are witnessing now — and that’s why the timing is wrong.

AMANPOUR: So let me turn to you Ambassador Haqqani, who are in Pakistan, obviously, who has a huge experience, at least your country, its military forces, its intelligence with what the Taliban are up to. Do you agree it’s the wrong time? And how did the United States get hoodwinked into allowing the Taliban to simply continue without making any of the promises and commitments that Secretary Fogh Rasmussen is talking about?

HUSAIN HAQQANI, FORMER PAKISTANI AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: First of all, a lot is said about America’s longest war. But the truth is that America never planned to stay in Afghanistan for 20 years. Instead, what we had were 21 year plans. And this is the latest of it. Let’s turn it over to the Afghan government without talking to the Afghan government about what were its needs, and how it will take over the fighting from NATO troops. As far as the Afghan government’s ability to withstand the Taliban pressure is concerned, I think we will see a stiffening of resolve in Kabul, and the people of Afghanistan will resist the Taliban. But from the American perspective, it was a mistake to prolong the war without a plan. And it was a mistake to rely on Pakistan the way the reliance was had. And lastly, it’s a mistake to leave without making transitional arrangements, as the Secretary General said, allowing the Taliban to wait the withdrawal out.

About This Episode EXPAND

Andrea Stewart-Cousins, majority leader of the New York State Senate, weighs in on Gov. Cuomo’s resignation. Anders Fogh-Rasmussen and Husain Haqqani discuss U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and Taliban advances. Pulitzer Prize-winner Louis Menand discusses his new book “The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War.” Actress Cecily Strong reflects on her career and new memoir.