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Former US President Bush says watching events in Afghanistan with ‘deep sadness’

Published: Updated:

Former US President George Bush said he and former First Lady Laura Bush feel “deep sadness” over the events unfolding in Afghanistan.

“Laura and I have been watching the tragic events unfolding in Afghanistan with deep sadness. Our 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,” the former president said in a statement issued late on Monday.

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The Taliban captured Afghanistan’s biggest cities in days rather than the months predicted by US intelligence, in many cases after demoralized government forces surrendered despite years of training and equipping by the United States and others.

Military flights evacuating diplomats and civilians from Afghanistan resumed early on Tuesday after the runway at Kabul airport was cleared of thousands of people desperate to flee after the Taliban seized the capital.

The number of civilians at the airport had thinned out, a Western security official at the facility told Reuters, a day after chaotic in which US troops fired to disperse crowds and people clung to a US military transport plane as it taxied for take-off.

“Many people who were here yesterday have gone home,” the official said. Reuters witnesses, however, could still hear occasional shots coming from the direction of the airport, while streets elsewhere in the city appeared calm.

US forces took charge of the airport, their only way to fly out of the country, on Sunday, as the militants were winding up a dramatic week of advances across the country with their takeover of the capital without a fight.

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