'We had no need to leave': Diplomat condemns US Afghanistan withdrawal five months after exit

ITV News US Correspondent Emma Murphy reports on the devastating consequences of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan last summer, with many blaming a hasty US withdrawal for the ensuing chaos

Afghanistan doesn’t get mentioned much in the United States these days.

The focus now is much more on the internal disasters of the administration rather than the external ones.

The US is still the biggest aid donor, $782 million, but the money, neither protects Afghans from hunger, nor protects a President from anger.

It is rare to hear career soldiers and career diplomats condemn a President’s decision but what happened in the country’s shambolic departure from Afghanistan in August has changed that.

General David Petraeus was commander of all International and US Forces in Afghanistan. He told me has no political stance, he does not vote, he is not affiliated with any political party.

When he speaks of a disastrous decision to pull out and rests responsibility solely on the President, he is keen to stress that judgement is made after a lifetime as a career soldier.

Ex-CIA director Gen. David Petraeus is also the US former commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. Credit: AP

His frustration is evident, so too his despair for those left behind despite having the right to sanctuary in America and those left behind who have nowhere else to go.

He knows men he served with are hunted down in the night for their service and will loose their lives as a consequence.

That desperation is shared by former Ambassador Ryan Crocker.

A 37-year time served diplomat, his language is measured, yet he cannot reconcile the decision of his political masters.

'We have seldom seen such a graphic example of what failure of patience can do than we have just seen in Afghanistan,' Mr Crocker said

“We had no need to leave,” he told me. “We just got tired of it and we didn’t want to be there anymore”.

He sees the decision as a dreadful example of America’s limited strategic patience something adversaries count on and allies fear.

Afghanistan is a shame on America and a greater shame for the Afghan people.

How must it feel to watch your child die knowing it was because someone a world away just ran out of patience.