By: Lailuma Noori
Afghanistan presidential office says US troops presence in Afghanistan depends on situation in the ground. US President Donald Trump says the United States will seek to get troop levels cut down but leave intelligence capabilities behind.
According to Sediq Sediqi, a spokesperson to President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, peace should mean that Afghanistan is not changing once again to safe havens for terrorists to threat Afghanistan and the world. Sediqi added that presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan will be based on circumstances in the ground.
US President Donald Trump on Sunday expressed optimism at the state of talks as the Taliban and the United States try to negotiate an agreement on the withdrawal of US forces in exchange for a Taliban commitment on security and peace talks with the Afghan government.
He said the United States would seek to get troop levels below 13,000 but leave “very significant” intelligence capabilities behind.
“We’re there for one reason, we don’t want that to be a laboratory, it can’t be a laboratory for terror,” Trump said, speaking before boarding Air Force One in New Jersey.
“And we have things under control, very well with a small force. We can probably make it a little bit smaller and then we’ll decide. It’ll depend on the Taliban. It will depend on the Afghan government. But there is a case to be made and the case also is that we’re going to be leaving very significant intelligence behind for just the reasons I stated,” Trump said. About 14,000 US troops remain in Afghanistan, training and advising Afghan security forces and conducting counterinsurgency operations. “And we have a very very good view. I mean some things are going to be announced over the next couple of weeks as to what happened, who’s been taken out. A lot of people have been taken out that were very bad, both ISIS and al-Qaeda,” he added.
It seems that talks between US delegates led by Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban negotiators have reached to a critical stage. US want the Taliban group to cut links with terrorist groups in particular al Qaeda and help US fight the group. Taliban has also debated on this issue. This means that US would like to leave a small number of military force to counter terrorism even after peace agreement with the Taliban group.
In case that US administration completely withdraws its troops from Afghanistan, there will be no guarantee of changing Afghanistan to safe havens for international terrorist groups threatening the world in particular the US. Currently, US by its military and intelligence capabilities is watching international terrorist groups in the region. If US do not have such capabilities in the region, there will be possible repetition of another terrorist incident of 11th September.
On the other hand, continued security cooperation between ANDSF and NATO member countries is key and beneficial for Afghanistan as the country cannot fund its military troops from domestic resources. Afghanistan needs serious military relations with NATO member countries in particular the US until the country stands on its feet.
Trump’s remarks in connection with leaving part of US intelligence capabilities in Afghanistan comes after the 8th round of talks between US delegates and Taliban negotiators in Doha, capital city of Qatar. Although both sides have not reached to final peace agreement, Afghan officials have said that to reach agreement with the Taliban group, it is necessary that the group should hold direct talks with Afghanistan government.