Afghanistan Worse Than Ever, Russia ‘Holds the Cards’ in Syria, Warns Former DoD Boss

Afghanistan Worse Than Ever, Russia ‘Holds the Cards’ in Syria, Warns Former DoD Boss by Aaron Mehta - Defense News

Former U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel believes the situation in Afghanistan is “worse than it’s ever been,” saying the U.S. will eventually need to leave the country.

Hagel’s comments came as part of a wide-ranging interview with Defense News, in which he also said the U.S. has handed over any opportunity it had to guide the outcome of the Syrian civil war.

A former Republican senator, Hagel crossed party lines and served from 2013-2015 under President Barack Obama as his third secretary of defense. During that period, he got a chance to take a close-in look at the situation in both Afghanistan and Syria, and his conclusions about the future of both countries are not positive.

Asked if America will ever be able to leave Afghanistan, Hagel was unequivocal: “Yes, I do. I mean, at some point we’re going to have to.”

“After 17 years in Afghanistan, the situation is worse than it’s ever been. I think the American people, the Congress, the United States are going to start asking some pretty good questions,” Hagel said. “The American military can’t fix the problems in Afghanistan. Poppy production, corruption, tribal decisions, topography. All the uncontrollables are there. You don’t fix that with the military.” …

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