Implications of US stay in Afghanistan
SIGNALLING a clear departure from its earlier commitment of wind ing up its campaign in war ravaged Afghanistan, the US said on Friday that its military would play a bigger role in the days to come in combating the Taliban in Afghanistan. The decision has been greatly hailed by the Afghan authorities saying this would help boost the capacity of struggling local forces. However in our view the new decision is fraught with intricacies and carries serious implications for the region, which already has been hit hard by prolonged conflicts.
Also condemning the US decision, Chief of Jamat-i-Islami Siraj ul Haq termed the extension of US forces in Afghanistan as a serious threat to regional peace. The fears expressed by the JI chief we believe are not unfounded and unjustified. In fact, overstay of US forces smacks of foul play and indicate that Washington has prepared some new agenda for the region. It is understood that widening of US military presence would once again trigger bloody clashes between the Afghan Taliban and the USAfghan troops, because Afghans have always detested the presence of foreign military boots on their homeland. All this would have serious implications and not serve the purpose of bringing Afghan Taliban back to negotiations. Secondly the decision would also affect Pakistan’s counterterrorism operation, which so far has produced excellent results. We, therefore, ask the US to review its decision as the military option in Afghanistan has not paid any dividends but only added to complexities and worsened the security situation. To end the conflict, all stakeholders should reenergise their efforts for Afghan peace and reconciliation process, which has been spoiled by the killing of Taliban Chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour. It is not going to be an easy task to bring the Taliban back to the peace process especially after the killing of their chief but this is the only viable option to bring long term peace and stability in the country.