By Bevan Hurley:
The former head of the United States army in Afghanistan says it would be “impossible to argue” the War on Terror had been worthwhile.
Stanley McChrystal, the former Joint Special Operations Command and Afghanistan War commander, said the unending battle against ever-changing terrorist organisations, launched as a response to the 9/11 attacks, was not worth it.
“The outcome just hasn’t been positive enough to argue that,” the retired four-star general told Daily Beast contributing editor Spencer Ackerman for his new book Reign of Terror.
The US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq had been launched with “good intentions”, Gen McChrystal claimed, but had been hamstrung by “fundamental errors”.
“It was impossible to know if things might have gone differently had the US military planned for what came after the invasion phase of the two countries.
“Had we gone in with a different mindset, a totally different approach, which would have been more of a counterinsurgency approach, building through the state, would it have worked?
“I can’t say it would’ve, but I think it would have been a better approach.”
In April, President Joe Biden announced the withdrawal of all American troops from Afghanistan by 11 September, bringing to an end the US’ longest-running war.
The secretive departure timeline was brought forward to 31 August, and will leave just a small presence of around 1,000 troops to guard the US embassy, Kabul airport and other key government infrastructure.
Since leaving, the resurgent Taliban has continued to wage a bloody civil war against government forces, and this week closed in on multiple state capitals.
More than 2,000 US military personnel died in Afghanistan combat.
Foreign policy experts have called on a dramatic overhaul of the War on Terror approach to tackling international terrorism.