Late Wednesday, US President Barack Obama finally announced the drawdown plan of US forces from Afghanistan – 10,000 this year and 23,000 by the end of summer 2012. This is bigger than expected. Also, it seems like the President has overlooked the recommendations of his generals in the field who had said there should be no significant drawdown until 2013 because the success against Taliban in southern provinces of Afghanistan were fragile and reversible.
Although the withdrawal plan by Obama has been widely appreciated at world level by different US allies including British, German, Australian and Afghan governments, in view of experts Obama has hurried by announcing to pull out a major portion of US troops at times when Taliban is stronger than never before in the last decade.
The decision of Obama administration is based on three major points: One, Al-Qaida remains no more a serious threat after the death of its leader Osama bin Laden. Two, security responsibilities in Afghanistan will be gradually handed to Afghan Security Forces. And three, efforts to resolve the Afghan conflict through a political way – negotiation with Taliban.
No doubt, diminishing Al-Qaida was the foremost objective of US-led campaign in Afghanistan. Despite Osama's death, no one can say Al-Qaida is completely defeated as it has rooted in many other countries and it is doubted that it will soon re-emerge. On the other hand, in a series of recent attacks Taliban has shown it is strong and poses serious challenges to Afghan Army and Police who are believed to have low capacity and are inadequately equipped.
Also the Taliban, in response to Obama's withdrawal plan, has termed it as "symbolic" and vowed to step up fighting until all foreign forces leave the country. In a statement released Thursday, The self-proclaimed "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan" insisted that its "armed struggle will increase from day to day" unless all foreign troops leave the country completely and immediately. Not only this, the Taliban has also rejected all offers of Karzai for table talks time and again in statements and its consistent deadly attacks on government and NATO are clear evidence for their unwillingness to negotiate with a government which it often pronounces 'puppet.'
With announcement of drawdown plan by Obama, same plans by US allies are expected to be made public soon. Keeping the current political and security situation in Afghanistan, the withdrawal plan is likely to lead this country towards further instability.