The fear of the Taliban overwhelming the Afghanistan military was real before the near-complete U.S. withdrawal, but a new "civil war" is a real possibility, according to retired Gen. David Petraeus.
"I feared that we would come to regret the decision to withdraw our forces," Petraeus told Sunday's "The Cats Roundtable" on WABC 770 AM-N.Y. "I didn't sense that we would realize this quite as quickly as it seems is the case."
Regrettably, the "Taliban has quite swiftly taken control" of many areas of the war-torn country, Petraeus noted to host John Catsimatidis
"Clearly, the situation is very concerning because the ultimate outcome could be the reimposition of an ultra-conservative, Islamist, medieval, theocratic regime, which we saw before – when the Taliban controlled much of the country, including the area in which al-Qaida was allowed to establish the sanctuary in which the 9/11 attacks were planned," he continued.
"There is a real potential of a civil war between the Taliban and their insurgent and extremist partners, government forces, and various warlord militias."
While Petraeus expressed "enormous confidence in the national security team that the president has established" and "they are extremely aware of the challenges that are accumulating in Afghanistan," a civil war would reset the U.S. position all over again, he feared.
"That could be very damaging: loss of life, loss of infrastructure, millions of refugees flooding into neighboring countries, Pakistan in particular," he said.
"If [the Taliban] is allowed to reconstitute as the Islamic state, they can cause a great deal of damage, and we may actually have to go back into [Afghanistan]."
Also, China is a threat to complicate "the situation," because "they have tried in the past," he added.
"A sustainable presence is probably the best course with a lot of drones and close air support available," Petraeus concluded.
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