Retired NATO general blames '20 years of American misjudgments' for the Afghanistan crisis, where the Taliban is advancing in the wake of US withdrawals

Retired NATO general blames '20 years of American misjudgments' for the Afghanistan crisis, where the Taliban is advancing in the wake of US withdrawals
Gen. Wesley Clark
Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark. AP Photo/Cliff Owen
  • Former NATO commander Gen. Wesley Clark weighed in on the crisis in Afghanistan on CNN Thursday.

  • He described the situation as the result of "20 years of American misjudgments."

  • The Taliban has been rapidly seizing land as Afghan security forces crumble with the US troop pullout.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, the former supreme commander of NATO in Europe, has said that the current crisis in Afghanistan was the result of "20 years of American misjudgments, of poor prioritizations and failed policies."

"For the Biden administration I think they reached the end of the road. It was clear that they weren't going to be able to create or help create an Afghanistan government that supported its people," Clark told CNN host Jim Acosta on Thursday.

"And without that government support, its military did not have the support of the people. And this is the consequence of it. It's painful. It's tragic."

Clark's assessment came as the Taliban seized multiple provincial capitals in Afghanistan as part of their sweeping offensive.

As of Friday, the militant organization was effectively controlling about two-thirds of the country, with Afghan security forces struggling to contain the advance in the wake of the US' withdrawal of most of its forces in July.

Thousands of people have fled the fighting to the Afghan capital, Kabul, which US intelligence officials told The Washington Post could fall to the Taliban in a matter of weeks.

President Joe Biden's administration is coming under pressure for its withdrawal strategy, with Biden on July 8 having described the prospect of the Taliban seizing back control of the country as "extremely unlikely."

Three thousand additional US troops were deployed to Kabul on Thursday help ensure the safe evacuation of remaining military forces there ahead of the scheduled full US withdrawal on September 11.

Clark served as NATO military chief from 1997 until 2000, the year before US and NATO forces launched the invasion of Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 attacks. He ran as a Democratic presidential candidate in 2004.

In the CNN interview, Clark expressed bafflement as to why the US had been caught off guard by the rapid Taliban advances.

"Once you are actually committed to withdrawal, set the date, you will supercharge the Taliban. They will have a sense of momentum, a belief that their long-held faith in ultimate victory is about to be realized," he said.

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