Talks on US presence in Afghanistan after uullout nnnerving regionApril 19th, 2011 - 3:12 pm ICT by ANI
Kabul, Apr. 19 (ANI): The proposed pullout from Afghanistan by American troops is now being viewed as a delicate development, as it will take place at a critical time. There are also concerns over reports that American troops may consider staying on after the 2014 deadline for evacuation of all foreign troops expires.
Afghan officials have expressed concern that the negotiations could scuttle peace talks with the Taliban, now in their early stages, because the insurgents have insisted that foreign forces must leave the country before they will deal.
That they are already talking is an indication they are willing to compromise on the timing of a withdrawal - but it is hard to imagine Taliban acceptance of a lasting American presence here.
Formal talks on a long-term agreement began last month under President envoy’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman.
The reaction regionally was immediate. The Iranian interior minister made a rushed visit to Kabul, followed shortly by the national security advisers of India and Russia.
The Russians, though generally supportive of NATO’s role in Afghanistan, were alarmed at the prospect of a long-term Western presence.
“The Russian side supports the development of Afghanistan by its own forces in all areas - security, economic, political - only by its own forces, especially after 2014,” said Stepan Anikeev, a political adviser at the Russian Embassy here.
American officials have hastened to assure Russia and other neighbors about their intentions after 2014.
Despite worries, American and Afghan officials are negotiating on an accelerated timetable, with the Americans hoping to come to an agreement by July, when the first withdrawals of some American troops are to start, diplomats say. (ANI)
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