Former Defense Secretary and United States Senator from Nebraska, Chuck Hagel, says the United States needs to get out of Afghanistan, adding it won’t be easy.
Hagel says the Afghan government is more corrupt now than when Americans sent troops there 16 years ago.
Hagel doesn’t believe the answer is to send in more troops.
“I think the smarter way to do it is to focus again on some diplomatic, strategic objective to get the Taliban and the government and you’ll probably use Pakistan and others to come to a table, but that’s difficult as well,” Hagel tells a panel on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press,” after he delivered a lecture at a small Iowa college.
Hagel served two terms in the United States Senate. A Vietnam veteran, Hagel was the first enlisted combat veteran to become Secretary of Defense; a Republican serving under Democratic President Barack Obama.
Afghanistan has slid further into decline, according to Hagel, who says defections from the Afghan army are up, poppy production is up, and the Taliban controls more of the country than ever. He says the U.S. has poured hundreds of billions of dollars into nation building with little to show for it.
Hagel acknowledges President Donald Trump is in a tough spot when it comes to Afghanistan.
“I think there is not going to be any alternative, but for us to eventually have to leave Afghanistan in some way, at some time,” Hagel says.
Hagel says the United States cannot solve every nation’s problems. He says, eventually, the future of Afghanistan is up to its people.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]