Rumsfeld: 'Trained ape' could get Afghanistan troop agreement

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said a "trained ape" could get a status of forces agreement with Afghanistan, which the Obama administration has yet to do.

Rumsfeld on Monday night asserted the Obama administration has engaged in "terrible" diplomacy and damaged its relationship with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai.

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“This administration, the White House, and the State Department have failed to get a status of forces agreement,” he said on Fox News. “A trained ape could get a status of forces agreement. It does not take a genius."

He noted the United States has similar types of agreements with nearly 100 other countries.  

The agreement would allow a small number of U.S. forces to remain in the country after the withdrawal of troops later this year. But after a number of failed attempts to get an agreement, President Obama told Karzai in a phone call last month the U.S. would begin planning for full troop withdrawal. 

In a recent interview, Karzai said it would be good for the U.S. to negotiate and sign the agreement with his successor after he leaves office later this year. 

Rumsfeld said the U.S.'s relationship with Karzai has gone "downhill like a toboggan" during the Obama administration. He asserted the relationship during the Bush administration was "absolutely first rate.”

Earlier this week, Afghanistan became one of the few countries to recognize the results of the Crimea referendum that called for the region to gain independence from Ukraine and join Russia. 

Rumsfeld said it is never good when other world leaders side with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but Karzai's choice makes sense. 

"I really think it is understandable, given the terrible, terrible diplomacy the United States has conducted with Afghanistan," he said. 

He added: "Instead of having the United States deal with him through private diplomacy, [it] came out repeatedly in an abusive and unpleasant manner. And I personally sympathize with him to some extent."

Karzai said in a recent interview that his vocal criticism of the country has been one of his few resources to get the U.S. to respond to his concerns. At the time, he gave his best wishes to the people of the U.S. while passing along "extreme anger" at the government. 

"We have so mismanaged that relationship, and I think that he has tried to separate his harshness against the White House and the administration from the American people," Rumsfeld said.