T-mi­nus Two Years

The US and NATO forces may have a sched­ule ready for start of with­drawal but a po­lit­i­cal strat­egy is still lack­ing.

Southasia - - Cover story -

the 350,000 Afghan se­cu­rity forces, which will be trimmed to 250,000 mainly be­cause of the in­ter­na­tional community’s re­luc­tance to continue sup­port for the Afghan se­cu­rity forces for an in­def­i­nite pe­riod.

With 2,800 NATO sol­diers dead and nearly one tril­lion US dol­lars spent over the past 12 years, last­ing peace in Afghanistan is still how­ever, elu­sive and the slight­est hope even for the sta­tus quo seems to be a dis­tant cry in a post with­drawal Afghanistan.

The rea­sons are quite clear. An in-

By Daud Khattak in a coun­try wracked by vi­o­lence and se­ri­ous eth­nic di­vi­sions.

Over the past 12 years, in­ter­na­tional forces with the help of their high-tech war ma­chin­ery, man­aged to push out and keep away the bat­tle­hard­ened Tal­iban from ur­ban cen­ters. One can­not say for sure that the stu­dent army would not stage a come­back at least by tak­ing over some re­mote dis­tricts in the east and south and even some ar­eas in the western zone once for­eign troops leave the coun­try. in the power cor­ri­dor even af­ter the with­drawal.

On his part, Pres­i­dent Karzai walked a tight rope dur­ing his pre­vi­ous and cur­rent term in of­fice de­spite the pres­ence and sup­port, what­ever was avail­able, of the in­ter­na­tional community. It will be a trick­ier job for the new leader who will be step­ping into Karzai’s shoes fol­low­ing the 2014 pres­i­den­tial elec­tions.

A slight­est tilt or over over­step­ping on part of the new leader will be deemed offensive enough to stir eth­nic

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