Aug 17, 2021 - World

George W. Bush expresses "deep sadness" over Taliban takeover of Afghanistan

Former U.S. President George W. Bush speaks during the flag raising ceremony prior to The Walker Cup at Seminole Golf Club on May 07, 2021 in Juno Beach, Florida.

Former President George W. Bush speaks during a May event in Florida. Photo: Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

Former President George W. Bush said late Monday that he and former first lady Laura Bush had "been watching the tragic events unfolding in Afghanistan with deep sadness."

Why it matters: Bush ordered the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan to oust the Taliban and deny al-Qaeda of a haven to launch any more terrorist attacks on the U.S. following 9/11. He said last month that President Biden's decision to pull U.S. troops from Afghanistan would leave Afghan women and girls facing "unspeakable harm."

What he's saying: The former president said in a statement that he, Laura Bush and the George W. Bush Presidential Center "stand ready as Americans to lend our support and assistance in this time of need" after the Taliban declared victory Monday following its seizure of Kabul.

  • The former first couple's "hearts are heavy for both the Afghan people who have suffered so much and for the Americans and NATO allies who have sacrificed so much."
  • Bush stressed that he's "confident that the evacuation efforts will be effective because they are being carried out by the remarkable men and women of the United States Armed Forces, diplomatic corps and intelligence community."
  • In a message for the American personnel who served in Afghanistan, he added: "We thank you from the bottom of our hearts and will always honor your contributions."
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