s president george w bush in an exclusive interview with dw news, he calls the withdrawal of u.s and nato troops out of afghanistan a mistake. While president bush added, he feared that the pull out of troops would lead to women and girls suffering at the hands of the taliban. He also spoke of his relationship with german chancellor angela merkel praising her for her support of the military mission in afghanistan. I was very pleased she was supportive of troops in afghanistan and by the way and and one of the reasons why uh is because she saw the progress that could be made for young girls and women in afghanistan, it’s unbelievable. How that society changed from the brutality of the taliban and all of a sudden, you know, sadly uh i’m afraid afghan women and girls are going to suffer unspeakable harm. Is it a mistake? It’S, a withdrawal. You know, i think it is yeah. I think because i think the consequences are going to be unbelievably bad and uh i’m sad and i spend laura and i spend a lot of time with afghan women and uh and they’re scared, and i think about all the interpreters and people that helped not only Us troops, but nato troops and they’re, just it seems like this, can be left behind to be slaughtered by these very brutal people and uh. It breaks my heart that exclusive interview interview with the former uh president conducted by our washington bureau chief ines paul, and we can go to ines right now to get some more insight into what was being said very striking comments.
There inez give us a sense how he felt about the pull out yeah. Well, he really thinks that this is a huge mistake and will lead to chaos in afghanistan what he said and laila. You know this whole interview was said in a very personal take. We could talk to him in his summer home in maine, and i really believed what he said that he really is deeply concerned he’s deeply concerned. What does he fear most? Well, you know to give you a little bit of a perspective on our international viewers as many of the long time. Conservative republicans bush also still believes that the goal to fight terrorism in the middle east was necessary, and now he thinks it is far too dangerous to leave afghanistan to the taliban as they has really started to make ground in the country. So this is kind of the bigger picture. Now, of course, the current president of president joe biden very different uh approach. He has defended the rapid withdrawal from afghanistan just last week. He said that america did not go to the region to do nation building. Let’S. Take a listen to what he said exactly and we’ll continue our conversation after that we did not go to afghanistan to nation, build and it’s the right and the responsibility of afghan people alone to decide their future and how they want to run their country. So what was enos president bush’s original objective when he launched the war in afghanistan two decades ago? Well, he initiated this war in afghanistan as part of his white house goal to fight the war on terrorism after 1911.
After the 9 11 attacks leila, we have to remember there was a real fear about global terrorism, then not only in the united states but all around the world. But again after 20 years, the war and its tension kind of got, muddled and and became extremely unpopular here in the united states and also around the world, so it’s very, very difficult to justify its reason to stay in afghanistan. You were there with him in that very intimate setting that you outlined for us. Did you get a feeling that the former president president bush was criticizing indirectly uh? President biden well sure they obviously have a very, very different approach. Biden wants to end this war because he cannot justify the reasons to stay and also it was actually former president trump who started the withdrawal. I think it wasn’t really the intention of president bush to criticize biden directly, because we really mainly talked about angela merkel and her legacy, but yes, obviously they do have very different takes. Did you get a sense in conclusion that he regrets ever launching that war? I do not think so uh, it is that speculation, but, as we just saw and heard in this little clip you played leila, i think he really deeply believes that the war was good for mainly women and girls in afghanistan and uh was a possibility to really Make their lives better and that this opportunity that this possibility now is destroyed by the withdrawal, washington borough, chief inis oppo reporting? Thank you very much.
Ali latifi is standing by in kabul and he has extensively reported from there and has been covering the nato mission in afghanistan for years so good to have you with us, ali former president bush weighing in you just heard, calling the withdrawal from afghanistan a mistake. Is that a view that is shared with the people and the leadership in afghanistan? I think the people of afghanistan they knew that i mean the writing – was on the wall that this you know, intervent, that this invasion, whatever you want to call. It was going to end at some point and ever since trump was very obvious, that it was going to happen fairly soon. But what frustrates the avon people is not neces. You know they were saying if you’re going to go, go just tell us when, but more than anything, don’t leave without some kind of conditions. You know there are no conditions on the taliban. There are no conditions on the government. There is no real. You know impetus to i for either side to go and seriously take on the peace talks in doha right now. There is no impetus on the taliban for any kind of a ceasefire or reduction in violence. The fact that they just said we’re, leaving with no restrictions with no um with no conditions, that’s what’s, upset the avalon people more than anything no strings attached, as you are uh reporting now uh. He mentioned, which was also quite interesting in that exclusive uh dw news report, that the people that he’s most worried about are the women, the children, other vulnerable groups like the interpreters and the people who helped the troops that have been based in afghanistan for two decades.
What is their situation right now? Um? You know, the situation of interpreters is difficult because they were on the front lines of this. You know they were standing beside foreign soldiers going into villages. They were involved in interrogations, although at that time their identities were hidden but it’s fairly easy for the taliban to figure out who these people were now the taliban has issued a statement saying if they really express remorse or repentance for what they did. You know they will let them go, but there’s no guarantee of that, because there’s no real system in place for that. How can you convince who are you supposed to convince, and how can you convince them? You know enough that you are quote unquote, repentant, that they won’t actually come after you um, so the situation for them is very dire. The situation is very tired, and can you also speak to uh the situation of afghan women and uh children? Will the the the gains that they have made uh in these past couple of years? Are they lost? Well, i think we have to remember that. You know these aren’t gains necessarily all of them. A lot of them are regains that you know women had rights. Children had rights before the soviet occupation. You know that things were evolving at that point, so it’s not as if the us came and magically all of these things appeared um. The other thing is that there have been a lot of difficulties along the way.
You know. Uh women still have difficulties finding jobs. Access to education is still a major issue. So, to say that you know everything is great at this moment is also not necessarily realistic, but of course there is fear that if the taliban come back to power that they may go back to their old ways of 1996, where women, besides doctors, were not allowed To step out of the house where there were controls on what you are on, you know media consumption on all of those kinds of things so that’s. Why it’s so important for the taliban to really put out a list of exactly what they expect if they are to come to power? What will the legacy be of two decades of u.s presence in afghanistan and what do you make of the former president, the president, who launched that that war in afghanistan to topple the taliban? I think it’s very interesting that he’s suddenly, you know concerned about women and children, because you know his war made a lot of widows and made a lot of children orphaned. You know there was a lot of you know. There were there was there was rendition? There was guantanamo, there was imprisonments, there was night raids, there was drone strikes, there’s, airstrikes, there’s, all kinds of things that, if he’s concerned about civilians, he should have you know, thought about during his own administration. As for the legacy, i mean the fact that we’re having these questions is a legacy right.
The fact that the taliban is still able to pose a threat to to to the government and to the security forces uh the fact that we’re still having these battles and the fact that we’re still asking what might happen to women to children to interpreters. You know 20 years down the line. That is the legacy it. You know what really was achieved if we’re still asking these questions 20 years later, ali latifiyah journalist in kabul. Thank you so much for weighing in greatly appreciate it. Thank you and programming a note. We’Ll be broadcasting our exclusive interview with the former u.s president george w bush in full here on dw news throughout the day. He also talks extensively about german chancellor angela merkel, ahead of her trip to the u.s to meet the current president president joe biden starting on thursday, and you can also watch it on our youtube channel.