News Analysis: U.S. troop withdrawal to boost peace process in Afghanistan: experts

Source: Xinhua| 2018-12-22 14:03:18|Editor: Shi Yinglun
Video PlayerClose

by Farid Behbud

KABUL, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump has recently ordered withdrawal of up to 7,000 troops out of some 14,000 from Afghanistan, part of a plan, aimed at "making Afghan forces more reliant on their own strength."

Analysts here widely believe that U.S. forces withdrawal, a pre-condition set by the Taliban representatives in the UAE meetings, would strengthen peace negotiations with the Taliban and encourage the ongoing process.

NATO and U.S. forces completed their combat mission in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, after 13 years of military presence in the country.

However, around 16,000 foreign forces have since remained in Afghanistan to help Afghan forces in training, advising and backing them in the war on insurgents.

The new round of U.S. troops withdrawal would begin within weeks while president Trump would unveil the drawdown at the end of January or early February, according to media reports.

The announcement came after U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad meeting with Taliban in United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Dec. 18 and Dec. 19, which Khalilzad branded as productive.

"The U.S. troop's pullout from Afghanistan lays relatively negative impact on security in the short-term, but in the long-term it is in the interest of peace process and encourage the Taliban to count to the U.S. peace commitment," Hamidullah Arefi, chief editor of The Kabul Times daily, told Xinhua.

Fazel Fazly, chief advisor to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, said the U.S. forces' drawdown would not affect the security situation in Afghanistan.

"A few thousand foreign troops that advise, train and assist will not affect our security, in the past four and half years our security is completely in the hands of Afghans and the final goal is that Afghan National Defense and Security Forces will stand on their feet to protect and defend the soil on their own," he said on his twitter page.

"During the past four and half years, the fight on the frontline and security of the entire nation was carried out by the same forces, and despite the overwhelming war, our national armed and air forces have strengthened day by day and they will grow in strength even more," he added.

He said in the past, most analysts believed that Afghanistan would collapse with the departure of more than 100,000 troops by the end of 2014. "But our brave defense and security forces proved these analysts wrong and defended the nation with great valor,"

President Ghani unveiled his peace offer to the Taliban in February that includes recognizing the group as a political party, allowing it to open an office in Kabul, issuing passports to its members and removing the names of its senior commanders from the UN terrorist blacklist.

Ghani and other Afghan leaders have repeatedly offered peace talks with the Taliban. However, the insurgent group has categorically rejected the offer, saying there will be no talks until foreign troops leave the country.

The Taliban also reject to hold talks with an Afghan government peace delegation that also visited UAE this week.