The United States "should have been out" of Afghanistan 20 years ago, and now, "we should just cut our losses and get out," former White House Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland said on Newsmax Friday.
"The Taliban was always going to take over and we were always going to lose this war," McFarland told Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "I know that this really rankles a lot of conservatives for me to say this."
However, she pointed out that 20 years ago, just after the 9-11 attacks, the United States "did one of the most brilliant military maneuvers in modern times. In three months, we decimated al Qaeda, and there were only about 200 al Qaeda guys left, including Osama bin Laden We had them surrounded and were right at the Khyber Pass in Afghanistan, and we let him slip through our fingers into Pakistan."
But instead of pursuing bin Laden in December 2001, "we left it to Afghanistan, we left it to Pakistan to do what they would with Osama bin Laden," she added. "Turns out they supported him, and then we stuck around Afghanistan. We tried to take the most primitive, illiterate, corrupt country in the world and turn it into a modern democracy. It was never going to work."
Meanwhile, she said she agrees with turning over Bagram Air Base to Afghanistan, because to keep it would take a "significant military presence, especially surrounded by the Taliban," for the United States to hold the base.
"I think we should just count our losses and get out and then leave it to whoever else wants to go," said McFarland. "You know, look, the Chinese are going to come into Afghanistan. What they're going to do is two things. They're going to try to build a road. It's called the Belt Road Initiative. It's going to be a road that goes from China linking Europe to Asia. So they're going to try to do that; they're going to bribe the Taliban officials to do it."
China also wants Afghanistan's rare earth minerals, and will try to bribe their way into holdings in the country, said McFarland.
"That inevitably always going to happen," she said. "I just look at it and say, you know, good luck China because the Afghans are corrupt. They're tribal. China may try to bribe the current fashion of leaders, but they don't stay bought."
Further, McFarland said she doesn't know why the United States has "spent so much time and blood and treasure propping up leaders who don't like us and trying to impose systems they don't want, in places that don't matter."
She also noted that the symbolism of waiting to close Bagram could have been much worse if Biden had waited.
"I was in the White House Situation room in April 1975, and that's when the United States left Vietnam and we had Americans who were evacuated because they were surrounded, just like Bagram would be surrounded," said McFarland. "We had to take helicopter after helicopter to evacuate the American personnel over there and some of our Vietnamese allies. I sat in the White House Situation Room in April 1975 and said, 'we should never be in this position again.' Here we are again."
Meanwhile, it is the 50th anniversary of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's secret trip to China, and while it helped separate China from the Soviet Union, McFarland said, she doesn't think anyone had any idea about how the country would end up behaving.
"I worry right now that we are not focused enough on China were much too focused around other parts of the world, and what we're not seeing is a repeat. 40 years ago or 50 years ago or the 1970s which is China, and now Russia getting together again, this time with China being the lead."
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