The troop drawdown will begin shortly. President Barack Obama an nounced that he was pulling home 33,000 troops from Afghanistan by next summer. The announcement came after months of consultation and reflection over the status quo in Afghanistan and the possible consequences. Pressured by public opinion at home, US president made the decision to give a kickstart to the process of withdrawal, marking the beginning of the end of the US's longest war abroad.
The question on that for Afghanistan is, however, the ability to takeover the mission and manage the troublesome situation in the increasingly violent country.A total of 10,000 troops will leave the war zone by the end of this year - fulfilling Obama's promise - and more than 20,000 additional forces will leave by the summer of 2012. Afghan president Hamid Karzai hailed the announcement and said Afghan security forces will be ready to take over the job from foreign troops. He said Obama had made the right decision. "Today we welcome the decision of U.S. president over the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, this decision benefits the United States and Afghanistan," the president said.
The process begins at a time when Afghanistan undergoes its most violent moments since the US attacked Taliban shortly after the 9/11 catastrophic incident. The country has had great opportunities to rebuild Afghanistan. However, no single party is contented with the fragile achievements.
Though making promising announcements and declarations at certain junctures in the war against terrorism, the coalition forces - making bulk of the international troops stationed here -, the NATO and the ISAF forces are concerned over the post-withdrawal situation in Afghanistan. Gen. David Petraeus, who is leading the US war effort in Afghanistan, and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were clear in stating their public support for the decision Obama announced and said they would do their best to carry it out. But at the same time they warned that the pace of the drawdown, which calls for a third of US forces in Afghanistan to leave by the end of next summer, would create additional risks to the decade-old campaign. "The president's decisions are more aggressive and incur more risk than I was originally prepared to accept," Mullen, the top US military officer, told a House of Representatives committee hearing.
A question that hasremained insufficiently scrutinized is the regional contentious approach towards Afghanistan following the withdrawal. Having made strategic decisions on the post-withdrawal Afghanistan and the regional changes then, the regional and neighboring countries are making stronger efforts to bolster their position to gain the bigger piece of cake. Iran, the main regional critic of the US forces presence in Afghanistan, has frequently struggled to make Afghanistan see the reality from their viewpoint. Frequently calling upon the international forces to leave Afghanistan and advising the Afghan nation to accelerate their pullout, our Western neighbor tries hard to promote its strategic function in the regional - Particularly, the Afghan specific-issues.
Considerate enough to choose the timing, the Islamic Republic has launched an anti-terrorism summit in Tehran. To partake in the summit, the presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan arrived in Tehran on Friday. Previously, there have been bilateral and multilateral meetings between Afghanistan, Iran and certain regional actors. But there have been no improvements in security situation and the anti-terrorism in Tehran will also not bring any changes. Instead, it shows the rising regional conflicts over the post-American era in Afghanistan. The contentions will rise over the pieces of cake and Afghanistan would surely suffer from it. Alarmed by the withdrawal process and taking over the job, the Afghan government needs strategic plans to take in hand the situation once every one is gone and new battlers enter the scene. Petraeus is right over risks of the drawdown but the worse will appear when drawdown proves immature and is followed by intrusions.