Withdrawal is a recipe for failure

Sgt. Ry Norris/U.S. Army

The flight crew of a C-17 oversees the boarding of soldiers from 3rd Infantry Division at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq, Aug. 23, 2010.

Article Highlights

  • The accelerated #Afghanistan withdrawal is only jeopardize security gains and embolden the #Taliban

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  • Now that the #US is pulling out, other #NATO allies will follow our lead

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  • Next month's deadline hasn't forced President Karzai to improve #Afghan governance: the new timeline won't help either

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President Barack Obama's new arbitrary timeline to withdraw all 33,000 surge troops - a third of the US forces in Afghanistan - by next summer is a recipe for failure.

It jeopardises "fragile" security gains of the past one year in Taliban strongholds in Kandahar and Helmand provinces, and undermines the overall counterinsurgency efforts to stabilise Afghanistan.
While the accelerated withdrawal will disappoint American and British commanders in Afghanistan, the news will embolden the Taliban and discourage the insurgents from laying down arms and seeking a peaceful settlement to the decade-long conflict.

Follow AEI's full coverage of the July 2011 withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

Moreover, it will push regional countries, particularly Pakistan and Iran, to bolster their proxies to maximize influence once NATO troops leave the country.


Now that the US forces are beginning to pull out, other NATO allies will follow suit: Prime Minister David Cameron has already pledged to bring home about 450 troops this summer and is expected to order more reductions in coming months despite the military's warnings. Canada, Poland and many more countries have already set their own withdrawal timeframes.

US officials had hoped the July 2011 deadline Obama outlined 18 months ago would put pressure on Afghan President Hamid Karzai to improve governance and curb corruption. But the effect was quite the contrary: Karzai became more confrontational with the West, made peace overtures to the Taliban, and began to seek alternative foreign allies such as Iran, China and Russia. The new exit timetable will further discourage Karzai from cooperating with the US and NATO allies.

Ahmad Majidyar is a senior research associate at AEI.

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About the Author

 

Ahmad K.
Majidyar
  • Ahmad K. Majidyar studies political and security affairs in South Asia and the Middle East, with a special focus on Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran. He also travels frequently to military bases across the United States to instruct senior U.S. Army and Marine officers about culture, religion, and domestic politics in Afghanistan, and about terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Before joining AEI in 2008, Mr. Majidyar worked as a media analyst with BBC Monitoring in Kabul, and served as an aid worker with the United Nations agency for refugees in Peshawar, Pakistan. He is fluent in Dari (Persian), Pashto, and Urdu.


    Follow Ahmad Majidyar on Twitter.
  • Phone: 202-862-5845
    Email: ahmad.majidyar@aei.org

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