Following the botched U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and subsequent Taliban takeover, pundits on both sides of the aisle have engaged in extensive finger-pointing.
For his part, one retired U.S. military leader reportedly believes that former President Barack Obama deserves at least some of the blame for the current crisis.
Former Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc, who completed 10 tours of duty before retiring in 2017, spoke out this week to highlight Obama’s role in the situation.
Bolduc spent nearly six years in Afghanistan as a special operations commander and is currently a Republican U.S. Senate candidate in New Hampshire. He received five Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts during his military service.
He expressed concern over the Taliban’s rapid rise to power in Afghanistan, which was precipitated by the Biden administration’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from the war-torn nation.
According to the Washington Examiner, however, Bolduc does not believe President Joe Biden deserves all of the blame. Obama, he noted, contributed to an environment in which the Taliban could assert its power in rural areas across Afghanistan.
Bolduc noted that Obama sent 30,000 additional U.S. troops into the country in December 2009, bringing the total number to roughly 100,000. What happened about five years later, he said, is where the problem arose.
Obama’s Afghanistan policy
“The Taliban even said, ‘We can’t fight against this, we can’t win against this,'” Bolduc said, according to the Examiner. “Al-Qaida was saying the same thing. So what did we do? In 2014, [the Biden administration] said, ‘We are going to change strategy and come out of villages and end combat ops.’ And our senior military officials accepted that.”
That formal announcement came just nearly the end of 2014 with an Obama administration press release stating that “our combat mission in Afghanistan is ending.”
The statement confirmed that U.S. troops would be relegated to training and advising the Afghan military and that America’s military presence in the country would drop to 10,000 service members. At that time, Bolduc said he and other commanders warned the White House what would happen as a result, namely an increase in casualties and the loss of security advancements in the region.
“By 2016, the entire security force was gone, and by 2019, we had the highest casualty rate since we had been in Afghanistan,” he explained.
For that reason, Bolduc maintains that Obama bears some of the responsibility for the tragic recent developments in Afghanistan, suggesting that is why the former president has been so quiet lately.