Afghanistan will look as it did before 9/11 in six months time, says Trump's former security advisor

ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo hears John Bolton's take on the crisis in Afghanistan

Donald Trump's former national security advisor has said the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan is "worse than anyone expected" and that, in six months time, the country will look as it did before 9/11.

John Bolton said despite insisting they have changed, the Taliban still operates as it did during its brutal rule of Aghanistan more than 20 years ago.

When asked by ITV News how the embattled country will look in six months time, Mr Bolton said: "I think it's going to look - in policy terms - pretty much how it did before 9/11.

"If you look at how the Taliban behaved in some of their camps in Pakistan during the last 20 years, there’s no evidence that they fundamentally moderated their views."

Donald Trump and John Bolton Credit: AP

Mr Bolton said President Joe Biden's manner of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan was "way worse than anyone expected" and underpinned by a "heavy element of wishful thinking".

Mr Biden wasn't the only president criticised by Mr Bolton, however. He added that morale within the Afghan military began "sapping" away in 2020 when then-president Trump signed a peace deal with the Taliban.

Said agreement paved the way for the drawdown of US troops, the last of whom are supposed to leave at the end of the month.Mr Bolton, who was ousted by Mr Trump after a series of disagreements on foreign policy, said: "You can have a huge arch, but if you take the keystone out of the arch, the arch collapses and you just have a big pile of stones.

John Bolton predicts what Afghanistan will look like in six months time

"I think the departure of US and Nato forces removed the keystone"

Following their capture of Kabul, the Taliban have pressed ahead with their efforts to form an “inclusive, Islamic government”. They have been holding talks with former president Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah, a senior official in the ousted government. Mohammad Yusof Saha, a spokesperson for Mr Karzai, said preliminary meetings with Taliban officials would facilitate eventual negotiations with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the top Taliban political leader, who returned to the country this week.

Amid the uncertainty, thousands of Afghans have tried to flee the country in recent days, and the US and its allies have struggled to manage a chaotic withdrawal.