Retired Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc, who served 10 tours in Afghanistan and was one of the first Special Forces officers in the country after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, called the Biden administration’s decision to withdraw the U.S. military from Afghanistan a “geopolitical disaster of unparalleled proportions.”
The Taliban has gained control of the majority of Afghanistan territory amid the U.S. military’s withdrawal from the country after 20 years, prompting thousands of citizens to flee their homes and seek refuge in the U.S. and elsewhere.
“I am very familiar with American history, and I have never seen a withdrawal or an action by the United States military that put so many people in peril and danger and was so … irresponsible towards our national security, both inside America and outside America,” Bolduc told Fox News.
He continued: “And the damage that it does to our reputation — the damage that it does to the faith and confidence that people would have in us — and the doors that it opens for potential enemies like China, Russia, North Korea and Iran. I mean, this is a geopolitical disaster of unparalleled proportions. I believe I could have given this mission to a lieutenant and he would have planned it better.”
Retired Brig. Gen. Don Bolduc (Fox News)
Bolduc, who has been awarded two Purple Hearts and five Bronze Star medals over his military career, served in the 5th Special Forces Group in 2001 in an effort to boot the Taliban and al Qaeda out of Afghanistan. Now, he’s running for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, but he says he keeps his “kit” packed and “ready to go” since he retired.
The 33-year Army veteran detailed 20 years of shifts in leadership and military missions in Afghanistan through four presidents and said he has “less confidence in our senior levels” to handle an effective withdrawal by Sept. 1 and believes the military needs to “go back” into the country to restabilize things.
“We have a regional area that we should be very concerned with,” Bolduc explained. “We’ve got Pakistan with nuclear weapons. We don’t want that to destabilize. We have a very unstable north with Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and so on. We have an unstable border with Iran in the west. China and Russia are going to come in and take advantage of this situation. The Taliban are going to go back to their old ways of ruling.”
Current and retired service members “know how to put together the proper plan to go back in there and to change this dynamic in short order against the Taliban and al Qaeda,” he said.
Taliban fighters display their flag on patrol in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
“I’m going to be bold here and I am going to recommend that’s what we need to do,” Bolduc said of going back into Afghanistan. “…. This is a huge national national security issue for the homeland. … And what we need to do is — I’m sorry, it’s the last thing I wanted to recommend — but doing careful thought, we need to go back. We need to do it the right way. And there are people that know how to do it.”
He continued: “When our service members are given a mission, they accomplish it. Unlike the senior leaders, they do the job.”
The Biden administration on Thursday acknowledged reports that evacuees were having trouble reaching the international airport and Kabul, which is surrounded by Taliban checkpoints.
State Department spokesman Ned Price said during a Thursday news briefing that the government had received a “small handful of reports” of American citizens who were unable to reach the airport. But he also said that though U.S. officials were aware of reports that interpreters and former Afghan military officers were being hunted and killed by the Taliban forces, he could not confirm their veracity.
Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, vowed to bring home all the Americans stuck in the country. The U.S. is believed to have about 6,000 troops there.
President Biden has remained firm in his decision to order the U.S. military’s exit from the country.
“I stand squarely behind my decision. After 20 years, I learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces,” Biden said in an address to the nation on Monday. “That’s why we’re still there.”
The president suggested that the withdrawal debacle was the result of the peace deal he “inherited” from former President Donald Trump and claimed his only options were between “escalating the conflict and sending thousands of American troops back into Afghanistan.”
Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche contributed to this report.