05/21/2014 01:07 pm ET Updated May 21, 2014

Stanley McChrystal On The Afghanistan War: 'We Made It Harder Than It Needed To Be'

Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal discussed the war in Afghanistan on HuffPost Live Wednesday.

While McChrystal did not call the war a failed effort, he did say the United States "made it harder than it needed to be."

"I think the United States went into Afghanistan in a reflexive way after 9/11, clearly, near where the first or the biggest tragedy occurred," McChrystal explained. "We went in to get rid of Al Qaeda, but then we found a deeply damaged nation for which we de facto had assumed some level of moral and physical responsibility."

"I don't think we did everything right from 2001 to the present," McChrystal continued, "but I think we've done an awful lot of really good things."

When pressed whether the U.S. presence in fact made things worse in Afghanistan, McChrystal defended American actions.

"I think that we made it harder than it needed to be, I don't think we made it worse, because if you go in 2001, once the Taliban had left, there was a vacuum and there was chaos and there was physical destruction and the society was literally torn to pieces. So without outside help I don't think they could have suddenly put the pieces back together and moved forward."

Ultimately, McChrystal concluded, "even though we have made it harder, we have made it better. It's just taken longer and been more costly than anybody would have liked."

Watch a clip of McChrystal's interview above.



Afghanistan War, By The Numbers