US experts concerned at situation in Afghanistan

us flagWASHINGTON: Some American experts on Friday expressed concern over the current situation in Afghanistan, noting that with 10 million Afghans currently lived in areas either controlled or contested by the Taliban.

“Afghanistan is in a very deep trouble. The law and order situation has worsened. If you can’t have a group of people live in Kabul safely, you can’t have any business,” said Peter Bergen, vice-president of the New America Foundation.

During a panel discussion, he said: “About a third of the population is in areas that are either controlled or contested by the Taliban. That is 10 million people. This is a crisis (in Afghanistan).”

Bergen, an expert on Afghanistan, argued in favour of not withdrawing from the country, warning that a troop pullout would be a disaster.

“No American president is going to withdraw from Afghanistan, because it would be so politically incorrect if there was something to happen in the US from that region. It should not happen. We should signal long-term commitment,” he observed.

John Dempsey, a New America International Security Program fellow, was of the view the conflict was not going to end soon. Referring to the recent terrorist attacks in Kabul, he said the situation was grave.

“The war seems to be towards downward spiral,” he said, adding that the country had experienced the highest level of civilian casualties since 2001. The Taliban, he added, had no incentive to negotiate with the government.

Ioannis Koskinas, also a senior New America International Security Program  fellow, said Afghanistan needed a long-term approach. “Of course, a political settlement is good but no one talks about how to get there,” he said, and called for a comprehensive strategy. -Pajhwok

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