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News Analysis: Kabul suicide attack revives fears of Iraqi-like unrest in Afghanistan after 2014 pullout

English.news.cn   2014-01-19 19:05:24

KABUL, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- A Taliban suicide bomb and gun attack on a Lebanese restaurant popular with foreigners on Friday evening in the fortified part of Afghan capital that killed 21 people including 13 foreigners has revived fears that an Iraqi- like situation could repeat in Afghanistan after the U.S.-led coalition forces leave the conflict-ridden country by the year-end.

The deadly attack came amid outstanding stalemate over the controversial Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between Kabul and Washington to allow continued American military presence, although in a smaller scale, in Afghanistan after the foreign troops' pullout.

With the end of combat mission of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) by the end of 2014, most Afghans believe that 2014 would be a crucial year for the war-torn country.

U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins warned last December that failure to sign the BSA would lead to a civil war in Afghanistan.

Dobbins reportedly spoke of the "zero option" meaning there will be no need for U.S. military presence in Afghanistan without the BSA, a warning that has caused concerns among the war-weary Afghans whose country is largely dependent on foreign aid.

An Afghan analyst said that the failure of the Karzai government to sign the BSA has definitely encouraged Taliban militants to mount more attacks.

"The people of Afghanistan will see more deadly attacks and the Iraqi situation will be undoubtedly repeated in Afghanistan if the BSA is not signed," Ahmad Sayedi said referring to the almost daily suicide bomb attacks in Baghdad and other cities of Iraq since the departure of the American forces.

Afghans traditional Loya Jirga or grand assembly endorsed the BSA last November, calling on President Hamid Karzai to sign it before the end of 2013, the same demand as the White House.

However, Karzai rejected the demand, saying he won't sign the BSA unless Washington meets his conditions which include halting search of Afghan houses, supporting peace talks with Taliban and ensuring transparent elections slated for April 5 this year.

The latest Taliban attack in Kabul came on the heels of the " zero-option" warning from Washington.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, according to media reports on Thursday, proposed the presence of only 2,000 troops in Afghanistan to maintain security for their diplomatic missions in Afghanistan after 2014 pullout of the U.S.-led alliance forces from the war-ravaged country. This report, however, could not be confirmed. Earlier, the U.S. reportedly wants to station a bigger contingent of troops in the country to assist local security forces in preventing Taiban from returning to power.

The attack in Kabul's diplomatic enclave eventually reduces public trust in the ability of the national security forces to protect Afghan citizens, Sayedi told Xinhua.

"Taliban penetration in a fortified neighborhood like Wazir Akbar Khan demonstrates security lapse and disharmony among the security apparatus," another analyst Sarwar Niazi said in a television discussion, warning more terror attacks will take place if the performance of security organs is not improved.


Editor: Shen Qing
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