Retired veteran says U.S. should run, not walk out of Afghanistan

Ret. Col. Douglas Macgregor warned on Tuesday that the U.S. troops should quickly pull out of Afghanistan, saying the involvement in the country had become a “money pit” for the U.S. government.

The comments come after The New York Times reported that U.S. and Taliban officials have agreed to an initial framework for a peace deal that could lead to the withdrawal of American forces in Afghanistan.

“Whatever the deal is, we should get out — that’s the top priority,” MacGregor told Hill.TV’s Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on “Rising.” 

“We should not walk out of that country, we should run,” he added.

Macgregor, who is credited with helping plan the initial invasion of Iraq, argued that the war in Afghanistan has become a “money pit” for contractors in both Washington and the country alike.

“This has been a money pit that dwarf everything else in the history of the United States,” he said.

The veteran said that the U.S. continues to spend billions ever year in Iraq and Afghanistan at a time when President Trump and congressional Democrats remain at an impasse over the president’s demand for more than $5 billion for a southern border wall.  

“No one seems to be upset about anything other $5 billion for the border wall, that doesn’t make any sense, it’s ridiculous, it’s illogical,” Macgregor said.

The Pentagon reported in February that the Afghanistan war alone has costed American taxpayers an estimated $45 billion per year. This includes $13 billion for U.S. forces inside Afghanistan and some $780 million for economic aid for the war-torn region.

Macgregor’s comments come after Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said on Monday that there has been “encouraging progress” in talks with the Taliban.

There is still, however, no concrete plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan yet.

Last month, Trump signaled that he was seeking to withdraw thousands of U.S. troops from the country in the coming months.

Macgregor said he hopes U.S. officials will remain “realistic” in their negotiations, emphasizing that the Taliban already controls much of the country. 

“Whatever we do, we just need to leave,” he told Hill.TV.

—Tess Bonn