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Withdrawal from Afghanistan with Gen. David H. Petraeus (U.S. Army, Ret.), Col. Steve Miska (U.S. Army, Ret.) and Afghan Interpreter Fraidoon Akhtari

Gen. David H. Petraeus (U.S. Army, Ret.), Col. Steve Miska (U.S. Army, Ret.) and Fraidoon Akhtari join Washington Post Live on Monday, June 28 (Video: The Washington Post)

The longest war in U.S. history is coming to an end with the planned withdrawal from Afghanistan. But what and whom will America be leaving behind? Join Washington Post Live on Monday, June 28 at 9:00am ET, when columnist David Ignatius interviews General David Petraeus (Ret.), the former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, about the withdrawal and his concerns regarding the personal safety of Afghans who helped America on the ground for much of the past two decades. Petraeus will lay out his fear of an “indelible stain” on the U.S. unless we take care of those who helped us, including interpreters and contract workers.

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Highlights

Retired Gen. David Petraeus says he thinks the U.S. will regret withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan. “You have seen the Taliban take dozens of districts in recent weeks. It appears that, that kind of psychological element that is so important with soldiers, that they know that someone is coming to the rescue…they seem to be doubting that. Whenever that happens then you start to see soldiers not fight, desert, what have you, and we’ve seen that in dozen of districts just in recent month. As you’ll recall me saying very early on, I fear that we’re cosigning Afghanistan to a civil war, and again, that seems to be materializing sooner than I had even feared it would.” (Video: Washington Post Live)
Retired Gen. David Petraeus says he supports the U.S. airstrikes on facilities on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border, explaining that it “had to happen.” “ I do support, this and I do believe this is a problem, which is why these strikes were taken.” (Video: Washington Post Live)
Retired Gen. David Petraeus says the U.S has a moral obligation to help Afghan interpreters get out of the country. "We have a moral obligation to individuals who shared risks and hardships alongside our soldiers on the battlefield." (Video: Washington Post Live)
Retired Col. Steve Miska says the U.S. has to withdraw from Afghanistan with ‘dignity.’ “We need to do this withdrawal with dignity, and the dignity that comes from bringing our close partners from conflict zones is very important to the veteran community. It allows us to live up to our ethos of ‘Leave no one behind.’” (Video: Washington Post Live)
Afghan interpreter Fraidoon Akhtari says life in Afghanistan is “very hard and dangerous” for interpreters who are left behind. ”Everybody knows the situation is getting worse in Afghanistan…We have 1,000 translators left behind…It’s very hard and dangerous for those left behind.” (Video: Washington Post Live)

Gen. David H. Petraeus (U.S. Army, Ret.), Former Commander of Coalition and U.S. Forces in Afghanistan & U.S. Central Command and Former CIA Director

General David H. Petraeus (US Army, Ret.) is a Partner with the global investment firm KKR and Chairman of the KKR Global Institute, which he established in May 2013. He is also a member of the boards of directors of Optiv and FirstStream, a venture investor in more than 15 startups, and engaged in a variety of academic endeavors.

Prior to joining KKR, General Petraeus served over 37 years in the U.S. military, culminating his career with six consecutive commands, five of which were in combat, including command of the 101st Airborne Division during the fight to Baghdad and the first year in Iraq, command of the Multinational Security Transition Command in Iraq, command of coalition forces in Iraq during the Surge, command of U.S. Central Command, and command of coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Following retirement from the military and after Senate confirmation by a vote of 94-0, he served as Director of the CIA during a period of significant achievements in the global war on terror, the establishment of important Agency digital initiatives, and significant investments in the Agency’s most important asset, its human capital.

General Petraeus graduated with distinction from the U.S. Military Academy, and he is the only person in Army history to be the top graduate of both the demanding U.S. Army Ranger School and the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College. He also earned a Ph.D. from Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs. General Petraeus taught international relations and economics at the U.S. Military Academy in the mid-1980s, he was a Visiting Professor of Public Policy at the Honors College of the City University of New York from 2013 through 2016, and he was for 6 years a Judge Widney Professor at the University of Southern California and a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center.

He is currently a Visiting Fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute, Co-Chairman of the Global Advisory Council of the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, Senior Vice President of the Royal United Services Institute, and a Member of the Trilateral Commission, as well as a member of the boards of the Atlantic Council, the Institute for the Study of War, and over a dozen veterans service organizations.

Over the past 15 years, General Petraeus was named one of America’s 25 Best Leaders by U.S. News and World Report, a runner-up for Time magazine’s Person of the Year, the Daily Telegraph man of the year, a Time 100 selectee, Princeton University’s Madison Medalist, and one of Foreign Policy magazine’s top 100 public intellectuals in three different years.

General Petraeus has earned numerous honors, awards, and decorations, including four Defense Distinguished Service Medals, the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, two NATO Meritorious Service Medals, the Combat Action Badge, the Ranger Tab, and Master Parachutist and Air Assault Badges. He has also been decorated by 13 foreign countries, and he is believed to be the only person who, while in uniform, threw out the first pitch of a World Series game and did the coin toss at a Super Bowl.

Col. Steve Miska (U.S. Army, Ret.)

Steve Miska is the Executive Director of First Amendment Voice, a nonpartisan effort to reinvigorate civic awareness around free expression, religious liberty, press freedom and other first amendment issues. He founded Servant, Leader, Citizen (SLC) Consulting, Inc. after retiring as a Colonel with 25 years in the Army. His last assignment was teaching graduate students as the Army Chair at Marine Corps University. Previously, he served in the White House as Director for Iraq on the National Security Council. His book, Baghdad Underground Railroad, tells the story when he led a team that established an underground railroad for dozens of interpreters to escape sectarian violence at the height of the Iraq conflict. He earned top academic honors as a Counterterrorism Fellow at the College of International Security Affairs, National Defense University, and has taught economics at the United States Military Academy, West Point. Steve routinely speaks on first amendment issues and soft networks and has addressed DIA, RAND, the Pacific Council on International Policy, Zocalo Public Square, and numerous media outlets and think tanks. He is on the advisory boards of several organizations including the International Refugee Assistance Project, i5 Freedom Network, Maestro, and the Euphrates Institute. Steve holds degrees from Cornell University, National Defense University, and West Point.

Fraidoon Akhtari

Provided by Fraidoon Akhtari.

I am Fraidoon Akhtari aka (Fred) originally from Afghanistan, I started working as a translator at the beginning of 2004 until July 15, 2017. In thirteen and half years working for the United States Army as a translator I have participated in more than 500 combat missions. I have been in more than 100 direct attacks with enemies. I applied for a Visa in 2009, 2010 for some reason they lost my paperwork. In 2012 by encouraging of my friend David Lemoine I applied again, and my case got denied 5 times.

Finally by having a lawyer from IRAP in 2017 I received my visa and moved to Omaha, Nebraska. Currently I am working in Douglas County Department of Correction which I am dealing with different types of inmates.

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