Many believe US pullout to boost talks in Afghanistan - Pakistan Today

Many believe US pullout to boost talks in Afghanistan

President Barrack Obama’s decision to start pullout of US troops from Afghanistan is the hottest topic among the Afghans across the country. Some of them consider the move as harmful to the very interests of the war-torn country whereas others think it beneficial for their future. However, those, who are fed up by over three decades of prolonged conflicts and hostilities, believe that the pullout of ISAF forces could allow the regional and neighbouring countries for resuming “proxy war” on the Afghan soil.
Taliban militants through their spokesman had already declared Obama’s announcement a “symbolic one” and far away from reality but the chief of Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is yet to announce his stance. However, one of the Hizb-e-Islami spokesman in Peshawar says, “There seems certain flaws in the pullout schedule.” According to him, the strength of US troops is over 100,000 while President Obama announced withdrawal 33,000 dispatched to Afghanistan in the last two years.
“How the US would withdraw its remaining troops in a year,” he questioned. Amidst continuous discussion on modalities of troops’ pullout schedule, common people in Afghanistan attach great hopes with the pullout. President Hamid Karzai is already consuming maximum energies on reconciliation process. He had constituted a 68-member commission headed by Prof Burhanuddin Rabbani and is now making arrangements for convening a meeting of the traditional Loya Jirga. Beside going ahead with the reconciliation process, Loya Jirga also meant amendments in 2004 Constitution and taking the nation into confidence over the United States’ strategic goals in Afghanistan. Though the US is going ahead with the announcement to withdraw its troops, but it doesn’t mean that it would pack up like it did in late 1980’s. Unlike the past, the US is interested in permanent stay in Afghanistan and has selected seven regions for its bases with an aim to safeguard its interests in the region. That is why Karzai will take the Afghans into confidence over the US strategic objectives.
Before President Obama’s speech on the withdrawal, Karzai is his address to Afghan youths expressed his resentment over US bombardment of civilian targets and termed it an act of aggression. Given his posture, the US authorities are assuring Kabul of non-interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan after the imminent pullout. There are certain circles which believe that pullout could be beneficial for the reconciliation process. Since 9/11 tragedy, the Afghan resistance forces, Tehrik Taliban Afghanistan and Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan, have insisted on pullout of all foreign troops from the country. But both the entities are divided on the issue as some of their leading figures have already joined the reconciliation process and are occupying important offices in the Karzai government. Despite divisions, these personalities are still loyal to their respective leaders like Mullah Omar and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. They are also serving as intermediaries for Karzai in the indirect contacts with the two groups, a course of action through which the Afghan president intends to get maximum benefit of the US withdrawal.
The foreign diplomats and analysts say the pullout schedule is a test case not only for the Karzai government but also for all the Afghans with many of them attaching the future of Afghanistan with outcome of the proposed Loya Jirga and reconciliation efforts. They also foresee a vacuum after Karzai as the constitution bars him from contesting for third presidential term.

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