Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, October 22nd, 2018

Prospects of Longer US Stay

There are reports that thousands of US troops may remain in Afghanistan till 2024. Reports claim that an agreement is being considered between US and Afghan authorities for making such a stay possible and that US President Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai have agreed that negotiations in this regard must be intensified. Reports also reveal that the national security advisors from both the countries are to meet in Washington next month. There are different aspects and influences of such a deal if it really takes place.

Afghanistan at the moment is in dire need of longer US troops stay, at least for better security arrangements. The capacity building of Afghan security forces has to go through further development in order to enable them in shouldering the security of such a complicated scenario.

On the other hand Afghan economic structure is not built on strong footings yet and has proved to be very shaky. Most of the economic activities depend on the presence of foreign troops in the country. Long term investment inclinations have been threatened by the insecure circumstances and the country would be in need of international assistance for many years to come before it can stand on its own. Therefore, longer stay of the US troops may prove helpful in solving such problems.

The issue of the reconciliation process with Taliban is still ambiguous and the expected longer stay of US troops may further urge them to oppose the process as a major faction of them has been demanding for withdrawal of foreign troops before any step from their side towards reconciliation.

The neighboring countries in this regard have serious concerns. They would be looking towards the US presence in their immediate neighborhood with suspicious spectacles. They, as reaction, would not be much helpful in promulgating peace and tranquility in the country and would strive to prove the US presence in the country unjustified and more vulnerable.

Pakistan has always been bothering about the US presence in Afghanistan and Iran has been criticizing its presence as a part of traditional rivalry. China, an emerging power in the region also abhors too much US involvement in regional affairs; and so does Russia. In short the neighboring countries do not appreciate the longer stay of US troops in Afghanistan.

From the US point of view, their longer stay may help them in keeping close look at the regional powers and politics. Further, after the utilization of a large amount of resources and time in Afghanistan they want to see tangible outcomes of their efforts; so longer stay can conclude their mission in Afghanistan appropriately.

At the moment, they do not seem in a decisive victorious position in the war against terrorism and there are possibilities that their withdrawal can further make the terrorist networks grow in strength and destabilize the country, which is not having reliable political and economic stability to guarantee strict resistance against terrorist networks and other threats. But, a longer stay is always going to test the US tolerance and economic strength as the unrest regarding the US presence in Afghanistan is already disturbing the US authorities.

If there is a deal between US and Afghanistan regarding longer stay of US troops, the Afghan government has to make it sure that Afghanistan's national interests must be considered a top priority. US and the neighboring countries see the issue from their point of view, but it is not necessary that Afghan government must sacrifice Afghan national interest in calming their concerns, rather it must identify its own national interest in the issue and must strive to safeguard the same.