News Column

US Unlikely to Remove All Troops from Afghanistan in 2014

Jan 10, 2013

E. Kosolapova

US Troops

The US will unlikely remove all troops from Afghanistan in 2014, European expert Nicolas de Pedro believes.

"A significant number of US troops stationed in Afghanistan post-2014 still seems a more likely option than a complete withdrawal. Although, probably, in a much diminished figure compared to that it was planned months ago," de Pedro, a researcher at CIDOB in Spain, told Trend via e-mail on Thursday.

Earlier White House's deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said that the Obama administration is considering the possibility of removing all U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the NATO combat mission officially finishes in late 2014. According to Rhodes, the administration is considering a range of variants, with one scenario having no US troops there. Earlier the range had been expected between 6,000 and 15,000 U.S. troops possibly remaining in the country.

According to de Pedro, the statement on possible withdrawal from the country can be the way to exert pressure on Afghan President Hamid Karzai during his visit to Washington.

The expert thinks the international forces withdrawal from Afghanistan can entail some negative consequences in the country.

"Afghanistan's upcoming future is highly uncertain. The Afghanistan National Army seems not ready for guarantying a necessary level of security and stability within the country and its Southern borders. Moreover, a dramatic reduction of the international financial aid is foreseeable. This would mean a worse economic situation for the population in general, but it would have a more concrete impact on the patron-client networks that articulate the governance system in Afghanistan," de Pedro said.

Therefore, a more complicated and tense scenario for the scheduled presidential elections is likely to happen in 2014, he said.

According to de Pedro, worsening situation in Afghanistan could seriously affect the region's situation and in particular Central Asian republics' stability.

"However, the conflict in Afghanistan is far from being the main problem for the Central Asian republics," he said.



Source: (c)2013 Trend News Agency (Baku, Azerbaijan). Distributed by MCT Information Services.


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