By Geneva Sands - 03/13/12 05:01 PM EDT
"We're risking the lives of young men and women every single day in a mission that I don't understand, given its current rules of engagement, given what we're currently doing. I don't see a path ahead that leads us to a dramatically changed Afghanistan," said Gingrich in an interview with Fox News.
The former House Speaker has been outspoken about his pessimism for
the U.S. mission in Afghanistan since Sunday's deadly shooting, when a 38-year-old Army staff sergeant reportedly killed at least 16 Afghan civilians.
Fox News host Greta Van Susteren asked Gingrich, "What do we tell them as we leave?"
"I think it's a tragic situation, but I don't see any evidence that Karzai is prepared to protect women. I don't see any evidence that the Afghan government is prepared to fundamentally change society," he responded.
When questioned on when he thought the United States should withdraw from Afghanistan, he said "fairly soon."
"Given that the president's already said he wants to get out. Given that were not going to do anything to fundamentally change Afghan culture, if anything we're going to reenforce Afghan culture, why are we risking the lives of young men and women?" he added.
The shootings over the weekend was the latest incident that has strained U.S.-Afghan relations, threatening to upend a planned transition of security control to the Afghans from NATO by the end of 2014.
Tensions between the two countries have been on the rise following last month's accidental burning of Qurans at a U.S. airbase. The incident coursed outrage throughout the country and spurred violence against Americans, including the killing of two military officers inside a ministry building.