5 Facts about US Withdrawal from Afghanistan

After the horrendous incidents of 9/11, the US opted to wage a war in Afghanistan in search of the top Al-Qaeda leadership. However, after almost a dozen years of warfare in different parts of Afghanistan, many Americans are asking questions like what have we achieved through this war or spending billions of dollars and the immense loss of life in a futile war each year for consecutive 12 years were really worth it, especially at a time when the US economy was struggling to keep afloat?

A huge chunk of ‘innocent’ US citizens breathed a sigh of relief when President Obama announced in June 2011 that the US will withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. However, there are some facts about the US withdrawal from Afghanistan which most common men do not know. Here are the top 5:

1- The US forces will not completely evacuate Afghanistan

All US troops will not leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014. The US mission in the South Asian country will not end next year; in fact, it will transform into a support mission from a combat mission. This clearly means that the tax-payers will continue to bear the burden of the war in Afghanistan for many more years to come.

2- No end date of this war

While most people are confused about the length and magnitude of this support mission, at the present moment, there is no end date of this war. As per the Strategic Partnership Agreement between the US and its ‘puppet government’ in Afghanistan, the US military will remain in the country even after 2014; however, the amount of troops to remain in Afghanistan was not specified.

3- No set plan about the removal of the remaining soldiers in Afghanistan

How many of you know that currently there are twice as many US troops in Afghanistan as there were when Obama took charge of the presidential office. On top of that, there is no clear plan at the present moment as to how the remaining 68,000 soldiers will be brought back home. All we know right now is that the US will withdraw a chunk of its forces from Afghanistan by the end of next year. However, according to reports, Pentagon would keep between 6,000 and 20,000 troops in Afghanistan for the next 10 years at least.

4- The support mission will not be free of combat missions

The thought of a few thousand US troops remaining in Afghanistan to provide support to the local security forces sounds quite reassuring; however, neither anyone can predict the magnitude of this support mission nor will it be free of any combat activities.

5- No progress on peace negotiations with Taliban

Every security expert, who understands the dynamics of South Asia, knows that there can never be peace and harmony in Afghanistan without taking the Taliban aboard because, whether you like it or not, they happen to be the representatives of the largest ethnic group, ‘Pashtuns’, in the country, while Hamid Karzai and company (Northern Alliance) are in minority. Taliban want the US troops to completely evacuate Afghanistan and the post-2014 US presence in the country will never be acceptable for them.        

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