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Why the journalist use the word "would" in his sentence?For me it sounds more correct without this word at all.

"ZAKARIA: And the key here is, just so our viewers understand, that, right now, you have many forces that fight, Afghan National Army and Americans, in the old days, and then WOULD retreat to Pakistan, where they had safe havens, where they were essentially protected by the Pakistani military"

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Would can express conditional tenses but also can work as a "past tense will" to say what someone thought was going to happen in the future, in the past.

I will work on it.

Yesterday, I said I would work on it.

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