Bush 'deeply concerned' US troop withdrawal will create vacuum in Afghanistan

Bush 'deeply concerned' US troop withdrawal will create vacuum in Afghanistan
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Former President George W. Bush doesn’t think pulling U.S. troops from Afghanistan is “necessary” and is “deeply concerned” that a “vacuum” for terrorist groups will happen without U.S. forces there, he told Fox News.

“I’ve always warned that no U.S. presence in Afghanistan will create a vacuum, and into that vacuum is likely to come people who treat women as second-class citizens,” said Bush, who was promoting his new book, “Out of Many, One: Portraits of America's Immigrants.”

President BidenJoe BidenOvernight Defense: Senate panel adds B to Biden's defense budget | House passes bill to streamline visa process for Afghans who helped US | Pentagon confirms 7 Colombians arrested in Haiti leader's killing had US training On The Money: Senate braces for nasty debt ceiling fight | Democrats pushing for changes to bipartisan deal | Housing prices hit new high in June Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill to hold platforms accountable for misinformation during health crises | Website outages hit Olympics, Amazon and major banks MORE in April ordered out the roughly 2,500 troops remaining in Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that sparked America’s longest running conflict.

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The U.S. military has since been extracting itself from the country, earlier this week announcing the withdrawal is up to 20 percent complete.

Approximately 7,000 troops from NATO countries, as well as all U.S. contractors, are also leaving in conjunction with the U.S. military withdrawal.

The pullout has since prompted fears that without U.S. military support, the Taliban will overrun the Afghan government and women’s rights will be degraded.

In discussing Biden’s decision, Bush referenced the portrait he painted of Roya Mahoob, an Afghan woman who escaped the Taliban’s harsh restrictions on Afghan women by fleeing to Iran.

Bush, who was president during the 9/11 attacks, said he spoke to Mahoob after Biden's announcement and relayed that “she is very concerned. And so, therefore, I am too.”

“And you know, was it necessary? I don't think so,” he said of the withdrawal. “But the decision has been made, and we now need to pray and hope that it is the right decision.”