Tony Blair, the former prime minister for the United Kingdom, said Monday he’s concerned about the repercussions of U.S. troops leaving Afghanistan, but understands the reasons for withdrawal.
“I completely understand it, I accept it, but of course, there will be anxiety because the nature of the Taliban hasn’t changed. You see that from these horrific attacks in Kabul on schoolchildren,” Blair said on CNN’s “New Day.”
Casualties went up to 85 from a Saturday bombing aimed at schoolgirls in Kabul, Afghanistan, Afghan officials told CNN. The Taliban has denied that it carried out the bombing, which no one has officially claimed responsibility for, CNN reported.
A car bomb went off in the Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood and two additional bombs set off as students anxiously fled, CNN reported. The incident in front of the school left 147 people injured, Danish Hedayat, head of media for the second vice president of Afghanistan, said, CNN reported. (RELATED: ‘A Terrorist Safe Haven’: Tom Cotton Says Terrorism Could Resurface In Afghanistan Following US Withdrawal)
President Joe Biden announced in April that all American soldiers, “forces deployed by our NATO allies and operational partners,” are going to leave Afghanistan by Sept. 11.
The U.S. reached an agreement with the Taliban to completely withdraw from the country by May 1, provided the Taliban maintains their pledge to contain terrorism. The agreement, however, has been fragile while there have been strikes against U.S. forces into 2021.
The Taliban attacked a classified American base located in eastern Afghanistan, Forward Operating Base Chapman, on two occasions in March, an American official familiar with the details said, CNN reported in April. Seven civilians were injured as a result of rocket explosions close to the base.
Blair said he recognizes why the U.S. is leaving the country and said the British and U.S. public is anxiously awaiting for the troops to return “home and for our engagement in Afghanistan to end.”
“It’s going to be a very, very challenging time. So I completely understand why the president has taken this decision,” Blair said. “But I hope the continued engagement in helping the Afghan forces which America commitment, America has made and NATO has made, is still able to give the Afghan security services and the government at least some of the support they need.”
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