(CNSNews.com) - "We, at no point in time, have imposed our will against the Taliban. We have not vanquished the enemy from the battlefield," former U.S. Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) told Fox News Monday night.
West, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who was deployed to Afghanistan, spoke to Fox News Monday night, one day after the 13-year war in Afghanistan came to a formal end.
The war may be over, but the fighting hasn't stopped. Four Afghan soliders were killed while repelling a Taliban attack on an army checkpoint in southern Helmand Province late Sunday, the Associated Press reported. Afghan government forces and the Taliban have been fighting in that area in the six months since NATO troops withdrew.
"There have been no (Taliban) capitulations," West told Fox News. "And one of the sayings that I heard them say quite often in my two-and-a-half years in Afghanistan was that you may have watches, but we have the time. And when we look at Afghanistan, it is not a war in and of itself. The real war against Islamic totalitarianism, Islamofascism and jihaddism and terrorism continues on."
Although U.S. combat operations have formally ended in Afghanistan, the U.S. is still fighting an ideology, West said: "And again, we have not de-legitimized that ideology.
"And let us remember that next year, in 2015, those five senior members of the Taliban that we released in exchange for a deserter, Bowe Bergdahl, will be returning back to Afghanistan. So now you are starting to see the reconstitution of the enemy's leadership, which is very deadly."
The same thing happened in Iraq, West noted. He said he's "very concerned" about the 13,500 mostly American troops that will remain in Afghanistan to provide training and support to the Afghan military.
President Obama repeatedly has said that the war is coming to a "responsible" end.
And on Sunday, at an end-of-war ceremony, U.S. Gen. John Campbell, commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), told troops, "The road before us remains challenging, but we will triumph."
The Taliban on Monday declared victory, saying in a statement that the U.S.-led force had "rolled up its flag" without having achieved "anything substantial."