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News Analysis: NATO leaving Afghanistan amid unaccomplished mission

English.news.cn   2014-09-04 01:09:30

By Haleem

KABUL, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- The NATO member states and allied nations are going to discuss among other issues the situation in Afghanistan as per its summit agenda opening in Wales on Thursday, albeit in the absence of an Afghan president owing to an electoral impasse, to chalk out modalities of possible support to the conflict-ridden country beyond 2014.

In his pre-summit press conference, NATO's Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, according to media reports, stated that the military alliance "will be writing a new chapter in its relationship with Afghanistan as its combat mission draws to a close," adding that the new mission in Afghanistan will be focused on advising, training and assisting Afghan national security forces from next year.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is leaving Afghanistan amid increasing Taliban-led militancy, economic insecurity and continued subversive activities currently and increasingly marring the country.

Afghan political observers are of the view that the total withdrawal of the United States and allied forces from Afghanistan is tantamount to leaving mission -- the war on -- terror unfinished.

"The war on terror in Afghanistan is ongoing, we are still fighting terrorism, terrorists are still operating in Afghanistan, the world won't be secure until Afghanistan is secure and peaceful, " a retired army General and political analyst Atiqullah Omarkhil was quoted as telling local media on Wednesday.

Omarkhil also opined that the Afghan national security forces are still in need of long-term support from the international community.

"Afghans are pinning their hopes at the NATO summit for renewed commitment for its support to our national forces and for the provision of modern equipment to support and strengthen the Afghan air force," the analyst said, warning that overlooking the Afghan government's demands under such fragile circumstances could lead to a repetition of the situation in Iraq.

Taliban militants, according to Afghan observers, are presently fighting the government security forces in 16 out of 34 of Afghanistan's provinces.

Afghans are concerned over the ongoing militancy and violent security incidents in their land as the NATO-led troops are rapidly reducing their presence in Afghanistan and enabling Taliban fighters to exploit the situation.

NATO's outgoing Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, according to media reports, has stated that remaining troops in Afghanistan depends on the inking of a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between Kabul and Washington; signing a security accord, has been refused by President Hamid Karzai.

Previously Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters in August that Washington would need 120 days to pull troops and equipment out of Afghanistan if there is no BSA agreement allowing the forces to stay into 2015.

President Karzai who has refused signing the BSA with the United States would not attend the NATO summit, saying his successor can ink the controversial pact.

However, both Afghan presidential hopefuls Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai have promised to sign the BSA if they are successful in the elections and replace the outgoing President Karzai.

Afghanistan at the NATO summit is to be represented by Defense Minister General Bismillah Mohammadi.

"I am hopeful that the Defense Minister General Mohammadi will be able to explain our needs and our requirements for supporting national security forces," political analyst and ex-deputy to Interior Ministry, Mirza Mohammad Yarmand, said in talks with local media.

Meanwhile, Taliban outfits fighting the Afghan and NATO-led troops have repeatedly claimed that the NATO-led forces withdrawal from Afghanistan is a "defeat of occupying troops," vowing to continue fighting till the complete withdrawal of all the foreign forces from the country.

The U.S.-led coalition at the NATO summit in Chicago in 2012 had pledged 4.1 billion U.S. dollars per year until 2016 to support the 352,000-strong national security forces. Nevertheless, Afghanistan, according to foreign ministry spokesman Shukib Mustaghni, will request 5.5 billion U.S. dollars in aid at the Wales summit for its national security forces annually.

"I am hopeful that Afghanistan's international friends will open a new chapter of relations with Afghanistan and continue to support this country," another Afghan analyst Daud Muradian remarked in talks with local media.

Editor: yan
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