Former U.S. President George W. Bush, who launched the “war on terror” in Afghanistan and elsewhere following the September 11, 2001 attacks, called on the US government to expedite assistance to Afghan refugees following the recent Taliban coup.
“The United States government has the legal right to deport refugees in times of emergency. And we have a responsibility and resources to provide them with a safe way now, without legal delays,” said Bush and ex-wife Laura Bush. in a statement late Monday.
The Bushes said they were “confident that the exit efforts would be successful” with the help of U.S. forces, adding: “Our powerful partners, and the private sector, are ready to help.”
While the couple said they felt “deeply saddened” by the events in Afghanistan, they remained “strong” in the hope that the nation’s people would be able to stand up, especially the young Afghans who grew up outside the Taliban over the past two decades.
Under Bush, U.S. forces overthrew the Taliban government in Kabul, which had previously held al Qaeda-linked militants in a 2001 hijacking case in New York and Washington. But current and former officials have said Bush’s different focus on Iraq has left Washington’s strategy in Afghanistan.