Conflicts & War

‘US troop reduction unlikely to impact Afghanistan’s anti-insurgency war’

By Baber Khan Sahel

Kabul, Dec 11 (efe-epa).- As the United States prepares to reduce its troops in Afghanistan to 2,500 from an existing 4,500 before Donald Trump leaves the White House in January, the Afghan government and analysts hope that the change will hardly impact the security scenario in the war-torn country.

The United States accepted the drawdown in a pact it signed with the Taliban in February in Doha. The accord stipulates that the US will undertake the promised withdrawal until May next year.

The US has already withdrawn more than 60 percent of its nearly 12,000 soldiers from Afghanistan.

In mid-January, before President-elect Joe Biden takes office, it will reduce its troops to the lowest level since it invaded the country in 2001.

It has triggered some concerns that the reduction of US troops will affect the war by Afghan forces against the insurgents, who now control almost 45 percent of Afghanistan.

There could be some repercussions on the intra-Afghan peace negotiations underway in Qatar since last September.

But for the Afghan government, the diplomatic and military ties with Washington are more important.

Afghan presidential spokesperson Sediq Sediqqi told reporters recently that it was “important to focus on the quality of relations with the United States” and not on the number of American soldiers in the country.

Sediqqi said Afghanistan-US ties are based on the interests of the peoples of the two countries.

“Our relations will continue. The support of the Afghan security forces (will continue). There are no worries in this regard.”

He said the Afghan army was ready to defend the country and that they “are currently doing this job.”

Some political analysts share the same opinion to dismiss the notion that the reduction of US troops would affect the Afghan war against insurgents.

Safiullah Mullakhil, a member of a Kabul-based think-tank, told EFE that “the Afghan forces are now conducting 96 percent of their military operations on their own account.”

Mullakhil referred to the recent attacks by the Taliban in Helmand and Kandahar provinces and said hundreds of rebel fighters suffered heavy casualties without being able to capture large territories.

“These Taliban attacks proved that Afghan forces can defend their country,” he said.

However, Shahzada Masoud, another political analyst, said the US withdrawal needed to be “responsible” and coordinated with Kabul.

“It will have consequences,” said Masoud, an adviser to the then Afghanistan president, Hamid Karzai.

Some analysts also believe that the presence of the US troops was also essential for the progress of the Afghan peace talks underway in Doha.

“A continued military pressure, particularly airstrikes on the Taliban frontlines, could be essential to force them to reach an agreement,” retired army general Atiqullah Amarkhil told EFE.

Related Articles

Back to top button