Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, July 15th, 2020

US Troops Withdrawal and Future of Afghanistan


US Troops Withdrawal and Future of Afghanistan

The future of Afghan war and of peace and tranquility in the region is highly dependent on the decision of the US about the withdrawal of its troops from the Afghanistan. The situation in Afghanistan is getting very frustrating. The uncertainties have shaken hands with unfortunate and awkward incidents and the political acumen of even the most influential of world political leaders seem undecided about the future of the country.

The scenario is pathetic – the political setup in the country is being questioned, the reconciliation process with Taliban is simply incredulous, the disorder is knocking at the doors of the country's socio-political scenario, corruption and bad governance are now tired of making the headlines in both national and international news and the international supporters, because of immense pressure, are in a hurry to leave the country; yet, steps being taken to heal the situation are really negligible and non-serious.

The confidence of the people seem to be shattering with each passing day and now even the differences between the Afghan and US governments are increasing as well. At this crucial phase it is really important when the US decides to withdraw its forces completely.

The US, at the present seems to stick to its plan of withdrawing till the end of 2014; however, with the rising pressure it is possible that some urgency is considered. Recently White House has commented about the security transition and US's strategy about the Afghan war.

Jay Carney, the White House Press Secretary, after the US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's visit to Kabul, said, "Our strategy is to shift to a support role in 2013 and complete the transition in 2014. That kind of transition involves a change in the foot print… Our challenge in Afghanistan has been and would continue to be difficult.

We have met with success in ultimately defeating Al Qaeda. …. We are withdrawing US troops, would continue to do that, and would continue to take the fight to al Qaeda in the region… So it is the assessment of this President, it is the assessment of NATO, that the timetable that is governing the drawdown, that is governing the transition, is the right timetable. It is a timetable that will allow us to achieve our objectives, as well as bring our men and women home…

It is the focus of the policy of the President to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda, to stabilize Afghanistan enough so that Afghan forces can gradually take over security responsibility for their country. That has to be, ultimately, Afghanistan's future. We have sacrificed greatly, in our national security interests, but to ensure that that can come about…

The President made clear in announcing his Afghanistan strategy that we and our allies and a broad coalition of international partners will continue to have a robust, strategic relationship with Afghanistan beyond the transition period. But it's 2012, and what that looks like obviously is difficult to predict with any specificity right now."

State Department's spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, has also mentioned "Our goal here was to facilitate their ability to talk and maybe someday dance together. So our goal is to work ourselves out of a job if we possibly can." It is really true that US has been able to defeat Al-Qaeda to a great extent, however, it has not been able to solve the basic Afghan issue.

It has also been able to make some more enemies in the process. Even the reconciliation process with Taliban is not going any where. Recently, Taliban have also announced that they would not pursue the negotiations with US anymore because they believe that US can not be trusted as it keeps on changing its position.

They have also made it clear that there have not been any important discussion in the negotiations and they have just been talking about the preconditions of the talks – mostly about the Taliban's Qatar office and the release of Taliban members from Guantanamo. On the other hand, Victoria Nuland, talking about the issue has also said, "We still feel that if there is a process that can be supported, that we ought to do that. We remain prepared to continue these discussions. Our only goal is to get Afghans to sit down together…

This is a process that's had a lot of ups and downs. It's had some of the steps that have been taken to date are really only preliminary. But again, it's only going to work if you have Taliban participants who are willing to do what's necessary."

The recent incidents and pieces of news clearly show that the negotiations with Taliban are not going on the right track. Here, it should be mentioned that Taliban want to cash as much as possible from this opportunity. As the Afghan government and US authorities have kept on emphasizing on the negotiations with Taliban and have offered them invitations, they are feeling their position getting stronger; therefore, they are trying to set different preconditions for the negotiations. It is really important that the Afghan government and US officials should have this point in their consideration.

It is also necessary to mention here that the Afghan political coalitions that form the opposition are not very much confident of the peace process. They even believe that the current form of the government does not represent the diverse Afghan society and the present government does not qualify to be credible.

They claim that it does not have even the political legitimacy to sign the Strategic Partnership Document with the United States. Afghanistan National Front's (ANF) spokesperson, Faizullah Zaki has said that they support the Strategic Partnership agreement with the United States; however, it should be postponed till the next elections as the present government has failed the people of Afghanistan and it does not represent majority.

Talking about the peace talks with Taliban, he said, "National Front believes the current process of talks is a ridiculous play. Taliban have never been serious about peace. They continue bloodshed and terror. The eventual fate of talks with the current process will be utter failure, unless all political forces of Afghanistan are not involved."

The future of peace, tranquility, order and stability in Afghanistan lies in the ongoing transition period. The most important factor at the moment is the withdrawal schedule, peace talks with Taliban and future structure of Afghanistan political setup. It is really important that US and Afghan authorities, while making decisions about such important factors must keep the interest of Afghan people as a top priority matter.

Dilawar Sherzai is the permanent writer of the Daily outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at dilawar.sherzai@gmail.com

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