The Kabul Times.
Editorial

Responsible US withdrawal a must

The people of Afghanistan view the outcome of peace talks with mistrust as the Taliban leadership has held out against the proposal of the Afghan negotiating team for reduction in violence and declaration of ceasefire and their fighters continued their escalated insurgency despite signing peace agreement with the United States last year. The Taliban are also said to share close tie with al-Qaeda and their escalated militancy signal their lukewarm response to talks.
Meanwhile besides lack of commitment by the Taliban for lasting peace in the war-torn country, US has too announced that withdraw its forces by September of the ongoing year. The decision comes at the time that the insurgent groups sparing no efforts to expand violence and killing innocent people.
US President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by September 11 — the twentieth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks – also prompted a split on Capitol Hill among both Republicans and Democrats, creating some strange bedfellows over what to do about America’s longest war.
Many Republicans slammed the decision as premature, but other GOP lawmakers cheered US troops finally coming home. Most Democrats said they supported Biden’s desire to finally wind down the longest war in US history, but some said they were concerned about losing hard-fought gains in Afghanistan.
Afghans disapprove of former US president policy since despite giving concessions to the Taliban, he could not find out a solution to the ongoing conflict. His administration turns a blind eye to the Taliban’s intensified attacks against Afghan soldiers and civilians. Trump insisted on troop drawdown in spite of the unpredictable outcome of the intra-Afghan dialogue underway in Doha.
Now Afghans believe that Biden administration too ignoring the people’s will and deciding on withdrawal of its forces at the time that war and violence still persist and Taliban acting against all peace approaches.
If the Taliban continue dishonoring their deal with the White House through maintaining ties with the international terrorist groups and refusing to declare ceasefire, troop drawdown will be highly perilous. In such a case, the Taliban are likely to declare victory and would not stop conflict. Thus, the Biden administration will be the loser and condemned by US future leaders.
Therefore, US should consider responsible withdrawal from Afghanistan and shouldn’t undermine the achievements made so far. Afghanistan has got eye-catching achievements in last twenty years in different spheres including women’s and girls’ rights, freedom of expression, democratic process and representations in regional and international arenas.
If Biden does not act cautiously and do not consider responsible withdrawal, the mistake of former Soviet Union may be repeated and Afghanistan will fall in civil war.
If Afghanistan, dubbed “the heart of Asia”, is in turmoil and tension, regional and global states are unlikely to be immune to the spillover. Afghanistan’s conflict has to come to an end and the US and its international allies should not leave the country in the lurch.

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The Kabul Times.