Former Defense Secretary James Mattis has criticized Former US President Obama’s orders to withdraw forces in Afghanistan without consideration for what was happening on the ground.
Mattis, he had been given “two contradictory objectives” in 2011 when he was leading Central Command and managing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, he said in an interview with NPR.
“The forces under my command at CENTCOM were to degrade the Taliban while building up the Afghan army. They were also to withdraw on a strict timetable, independent of circumstances on the ground. We could do one or the other, but not both,” he said.
“What you have got to do is figure out what it is you intend to do at the outset [of a war] and then hold firm to that and don’t half-step it,” Mattis said. “I think that we have had serious policy challenges in figuring out exactly what it is we intend to do and then holding firm to that vision.”
Earlier, the U.S. has been in discussions with the Taliban about withdrawing American troops and leave only 14,000 troops in Afghanistan.
“Throughout history, we see nations with allies thrive, and nations without allies wither,” he said.
Trump has been criticizing American allies, particularly NATO members for taking advantage of the U.S. for their security. Mattis argued and said U.S. allies are needed, especially in combating terrorism.
“They were alongside us because they shared the values, the sense that terrorism was a threat to everyone,” Mattis said of eight allied nations fighting alongside the U.S. in Afghanistan. “So when you gointo these kind of situations, you need every ally you can get your hands on. You need all of them. You need their votes in the United Nations. You need their troops on the ground.”