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News Analysis: Pullout of NATO forces from Afghanistan feared to embolden Taliban

English.news.cn   2014-08-29 16:52:44

by Haleem

KABUL, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- The delay in the signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between Kabul and Washington and the scheduled pullout of the International Security Assistance Force from Afghanistan by the end of the year would embolden the Taliban to launch more attacks against government forces, local analysts here said.

"The pullout of U.S.-led coalition forces from Afghanistan would further boost the Taliban morale to intensify subversive activities," Khan Mohammad Daneshjo, a political analyst and journalist, told Xinhua.

The Taliban militants, who described the withdrawal of the NATO forces from Afghanistan as a "defeat of the U.S. and its allies" in the country, have lately intensified their armed activities against the government in several parts of the country.

The launching of massive offensive by the Taliban in parts of Helmand, Kunduz, Badakhshan, Nuristan and Nangarhar provinces is a clear indication of the insurgents' resolve to push for war, Daneshjo said.

More than 800 Taliban militants launched heavy and coordinated attacks against government facilities in several districts of southern Helmand province in mid-July, leaving more than 300 people dead or injured, mostly civilians. The clash with government security forces lasted for more than two weeks.

A couple of weeks later, hundreds of the armed militants opened new front in the Hesarak district of eastern Nangarhar province which had claimed dozens of lives, including civilians.

Over the past two weeks, government security forces have also engaged hundreds of Taliban in a fierce firefight in northern Kunduz province.

Daneshjo said the fact that the Taliban have abandoned the guerrilla type of activity in favor of a frontal and coordinated attack shows that there is now more coordination among the Taliban fighters.

The Taliban attacks would certainly escalate with the departure of foreign troops and the absence of the BSA agreement, which would allow U.S. military presence in Afghanistan although in a limited scale beyond 2014.

"The presence of American forces in Afghanistan would have a deterrent effect on the Taliban," Daneshjo said.

Afghan Defense Minister Bismillah Mohammadi, who visited the frontline in Kunduz province over the weekend, said that the delay in the signing of the BSA has led the country towards instability with the rise in militancy and security-related incidents.

In a speech on Tuesday during the change of command of the NATO- led forces in Kabul, Mohammadi said the he hoped that the BSA would be signed soon.

Meanwhile, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chief of Staff, warned on Monday that Washington would need 120 days to withdraw troops and equipment out of Afghanistan if the BSA is not signed.

The Taliban militants have vowed to continue their fight until all foreign troops leave the country.

Because of the increasing insurgency and the poor equipment of the fledgling Afghan national security forces which do not even have an air force, most Afghans fear that the security situation in the country would worsen after the departure of the NATO forces and the withdrawal of the international community's support for the country.

"Without the BSA, it would prove catastrophe for the country and would benefit only the Taliban," said Ahmad Sayedi, another political analyst.

He hoped the U.S. would not repeat its mistake in Iraq.

Editor: Shen Qing
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