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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
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 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.

AppleAndroid