Gen. Hayden: Obama Miscalculating Afghan Pullout

Wednesday, 28 May 2014 10:50 AM

By Wanda Carruthers

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President Barack Obama is miscalculating the military pullout in Afghanistan, said Gen. Michael Hayden, calling the move "dangerous" because the United States would lose leverage by creating an arbitrary timetable for the withdrawal.

"This is a timetable. And it's not based upon conditions on the ground. We lose all leverage and negotiations with the new Afghan president," Hayden, a retired Air Force general and former director of the National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Wednesday. "I think it's fairly dangerous."

Obama announced Tuesday the United States would withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2015, leaving behind 9,800 service personnel. The president said he planned to have all troops out by 2016.

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Hayden called the number of troops the president wanted to leave in Afghanistan "probably on the low end of the acceptable numbers, from my point of view and the military’s point of view."

When the United States withdrew its forces from Iraq in 2011, Hayden pointed out that it "did not lead to a happy outcome."  He said Afghanistan would continue to need help with rebuilding "after more than a decade of war."

While Hayden said he didn't "argue with the president pulling back the American combat mission" in Afghanistan, he maintained the U.S. needed a "presence there for training and for counterterrorism, to give confidence to the new Afghan government."

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