Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the United States came to Afghanistan to fight extremism and bring stability to his war-tortured nation and is leaving nearly 20 years later having failed at both.
In an interview with The Associated Press just weeks before the last U.S. and NATO troops leave Afghanistan, ending their ‘forever war,’ Hamid Karzai said extremism is at its “highest point” and the departing troops are leaving behind a disaster.
“The international community came here 20 years ago with this clear objective of fighting extremism and bringing stability … but extremism is at the highest point today. So they have failed,” he said.
“We recognize as Afghans all our failures, but what about the bigger forces and powers who came here for exactly that purpose? Where are they leaving us now?” he asked and answered: “In total disgrace and disaster.”
“We will be better off without their military presence,” he said. “I think we should defend our own country and look after our own lives. … Their presence (has given us) what we have now. … We don’t want to continue with this misery and indignity that we are facing. It is better for Afghanistan that they leave.”
“The (US/NATO military) campaign was not against extremism or terrorism, the campaign was more against Afghan villages and hopes; putting Afghan people in prisons, creating prisons in our own country … and bombing all villages. That was very wrong.”
“The desire of the Afghan people, overwhelmingly, all over the country is for peace,” said Karzai, who despite being out of power since 2014 has lost little of his political influence and is most often at the center of the country’s political machinations.
To the warring sides in Afghanistan, Karzai said: “I’m very emphatic and clear about this, both sides should think of the lives of the Afghan people and the property… fighting is destruction.”
“The only answer is Afghans getting together. … We must recognize that this is our country and we must stop killing each other.”