NPR logo Gorbachev: Victory 'Impossible' In Afghanistan


Gorbachev: Victory 'Impossible' In Afghanistan

Mikhail Gorbachev

President Mikhail S. Gorbachev holds up his hand to cut off debate in the Soviet Congress, Sunday, Dec. 24, 1989 in Moscow on a resolution condemning the Kremlin's decision to send troops into Afghanistan 10 prior. Anonymous/AP hide caption

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If you were President Obama and were trying to figure out how in the world to get out of Afghanistan, you might want to ask the one living person who has had to answer that question: Mikhail Gorbachev.

He withdrew Soviet troops from the country after a 10 year occupation. He spoke with the BBC about his thoughts on the current situation.

"Victory is impossible in Afghanistan. Obama is right to pull the troops out. No matter how difficult it will be," Mr Gorbachev said

Also, interestingly he thinks the current problems in Afghanistan have their roots in American policy after the Soviets withdrew.

He said before the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan, an agreement had been reached with Iran, India, Pakistan and the US.

"We had hoped America would abide by the agreement that we reached that Afghanistan should be a neutral, democratic country, that would have good relations with its neighbours and with both the US and the USSR.

"The Americans always said they supported this, but at the same time they were training militants - the same ones who today are terrorising Afghanistan and more and more of Pakistan," Mr Gorbachev said.



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