News / Asia

Experts Fear Afghanistan 'Zero Option' May Have Repercussions

Afghanistan 'Zero Option' May Have Repercussions for Regioni
X
July 11, 2013 10:22 PM
Earlier this week, the White House said a decision on pulling out all U.S. troops from Afghanistan after 2014 is not imminent but it is an option "on the table." Many experts say U.S. policymakers are increasingly frustrated in their negotiations with Afghanistan's government on a continued military presence in Afghanistan after that date. The senior U.S. diplomat for Afghanistan told Congress this week he believes an agreement will be reached, and as VOA's Kokab Farshori reports, a number of experts say it is in the interests of both governments to avoid the so called "zero-option" plan.
Kokab Farshori
Earlier this week, the White House said a decision on pulling out all U.S. troops from Afghanistan after 2014 is not imminent but it is an option "on the table."  Many experts say U.S. policymakers are increasingly frustrated in their negotiations with Afghanistan's government on a continued military presence in Afghanistan after that date.  The senior U.S. diplomat for Afghanistan told Congress this week he believes an agreement will be reached, and a number of experts say it is in the interests of both governments to avoid the so called "zero-option" plan.

Afghanistan suffered from a bloody civil war in the 1990s. While different Afghan factions fought for the control of the country, analysts say nearby countries like Pakistan, India and Iran thought it was in their national interest to support one particular group or another.

Andrew Wilder, of the U.S. Institute of Peace, thinks the so-called "zero option" of pulling all U.S. troops out at the end of next year may take Afghanistan back to that situation.  

"I think the idea that we are going to pull out the troops would exacerbate the concerns within the regional actors that Afghanistan could again fall apart and return to civil war, which if anything, further going to provide incentive to the regional actors to back their proxies in Afghanistan," said Wilder.

Wilder says another concern is that while the U.S. does not have a military presence in neighboring Pakistan, instability in one country impacts the other.  In recent years, Pakistan has been badly hit by several terrorist groups.  Wilder says leaving no troops in Afghanistan would further embolden militant groups in Pakistan.

"The biggest concern would be for the Pakistani Taliban, the TTP.  They could then get inspirational and say look what happened in Afghanistan - they defeated this invading power.  And that could be mobilizing for TTP and other militant groups in Pakistan," he said.

Experts like Lisa Curtis believe the regional countries are closely watching the situation, and that U.S. troops offer the possibility of stability.   

"If the United States could come out and commit to robust troop presence say anywhere between 10 to 20 thousand U.S. troops, then I think you create more confidence that the situation in Afghanistan can be stabilized and you hold out hope that countries like Pakistan may get onboard with a political solution and may cooperate more effectively," said Curtis.

But if experts say taking all the troops out of Afghanistan is a bad option, then why did the White House say it was on the table?

"Some observers think that the White House is using that as a bargaining chip, that it is bluffing, that it has no intentions of leaving zero troops but it is trying to force Karzai to be more reasonable in the negotiations of the bilateral security agreement.  But in my opinion, both the Karzai administration and Obama administration are using the wrong tactics," she said.

Curtis says the perception of a wedge between Kabul and Washington will play right in the hands of the Taliban and other regional extremists - and against the interests of the two countries.  Experts stress that whatever plan the White House does go ahead with, it should not let the Afghan people feel that they are being abandoned by the international community - one more time.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid