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US pullout from Afghanistan ‘right’ move, badly done: Israeli FM

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Israel’s foreign minister said Wednesday the US withdrawal from Afghanistan was “probably the right decision” but implemented in the wrong manner and its impact on regional security not yet clear.

“It didn’t happen the way it was supposed to happen,” Yair Lapid told foreign media during a briefing in Jerusalem.

“It was probably the right decision maybe that wasn’t performed in the right manner.”

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Lapid, a centrist and the key player who forged Israel’s eight-party coalition government that took power in June, responded to concern that the US Afghanistan pullout pointed to waning American interest in the wider region.

Some experts have warned that the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan last month could embolden other hardline Islamist groups, including Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip.

Hamas, which has fought multiple conflicts with Israel since capturing the Palestinian enclave in 2007, congratulated the Taliban shortly after the group’s capture of Kabul on August 15.

Lapid said that “I don’t think the United States is retreating from the Middle East.”

“I think we should wait a little before we (jump) to conclusions on what exactly is going to be the aftermath of this.”

Lapid argued it was not yet possible to “completely understand all the consequences of this move,” citing the impact on Pakistan and “the long border (Shia Muslim) Iran now has with a radical Sunni state run by a radical Sunni organization.”

The Taliban have celebrated the US withdrawal, which was completed on Monday, as a major victory after taking control of Afghanistan following a long and bloody insurgency that ended with the rapid collapse of government forces.

US President Joe Biden has staunchly defended his decision to end the two-decade war, launched in the wake of 9/11, as “the best decision for America,” saying Tuesday that the country had faced two choices, “leaving or escalating.”

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