Op-Ed

U.S. troops in Afghanistan
U.S. troops in Afghanistan

Afghanistan should not be Abandoned.

By Probir Kumar Sarkar.

The War on Terror—one front in Afghanistan, the other in Iraq—has not decreased the number of jihadists, but rather has bred more who are ready to sacrifice their lives to attack and destabilize the West and its interests anywhere in the world. U.S cities are now more vulnerable than before 9/11. The war against al-Qaeda that brought the United States-led NATO forces to Afghanistan in 2001 is due to terminate its combat mission in December this year and will complete a full withdrawal from Afghanistan by 2016, coinciding with the last months of Obama’s presidency.
This premature withdrawal could have volatile implications for the South Asian security scenario given the deep-rooted Indo–Pak rivalry in the Afghan–Pak war theater—particularly because of Pakistan’s reliance on militant extremist groups and hard-line Islamic orthodoxy to secure and further its strategic interests in the region.

But America wants its troops out of Afghanistan without weighing their successes or considering the consequences. The earlier withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq was ended as promised in 2011 with a disastrous fallout just three years later as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) now surges across the North.

Now it is Afghanistan’s turn.

The mission was not accomplished on either front. By the time of withdrawal, this long 15-year war in Afghanistan will have cost the United States and its allies billions of dollars and thousands of fatalities. Yet no one thinks it wise to leave the country wide open and thrust its people into total chaos in the face of a resurgent Taliban.

In Iraq, the ultra-terrorist group ISIS, which has already captured a sizeable portion of the northern region, is now ratcheting up its offensive to increase strength and numbers. The group’s takeover is still evolving, and many security experts in the U.S are struggling to complete a broad picture of the current situation as new information and developments unfold.

“This is a cauldron of future terrorist threats to the West,” said security analyst Juan Zarate, commenting recently on the Iraqi imbroglio in CBS news. ISIS “have motivation mixed with opportunity, ideology, and foreign fighters, and all of that looks like a very extreme version of Afghanistan in the 90s”.

The need to continue the War on Terror was not over when American troops withdrew from Iraq, and it will certainly not be over in Afghanistan, which has proven more dangerous this year than it was in 2001. Al-Qaeda operatives and Taliban mujahidin outfits are …

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