Haqqani urges US to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014
04 November, 2012
WASHINGTON: Pakistan's former ambassador to United States Hussain Haqqani has urged the US to stay in Afghanistan "for as long as necessary", instead of withdrawing its troops in 2014 as planned.
Washington Post in an opinion piece quoted Haqqani as saying, "If the United States and allied forces leave Afghanistan in 2014 with al Qaeda and Taliban havens intact, US forces are sure to have to return to the region after another 9/11-type event."
He wrote, "Instead of signalling eagerness to exit Afghanistan, Washington should be demonstrating that the United States is willing to stay for as long as necessary."
Haqqani in his article said, "Ironically, a firm display will all along, coupled with a global strategy to combat extremist Islamist ideology, might have made an early withdrawal easier."
"Although the Taliban increasingly threaten Pakistan, the Pakistani military and intelligence services continue to make distinctions among groups of Taliban and jihadis and considers some of them strategic allies. Pakistan is still clinging to hopes of greater influence over Afghanistan with the help of various Taliban factions after the withdrawal," Haqqani claimed.
The former Pakistani envoy wrote: "In last week's foreign policy debate, President Obama said that success against al Qaeda can be achieved simply by tracking down and killing those identified as terrorists. This view is no doubt rooted in the US electorate's disapproval of distant wars. But this thinking fails to take into account how drones and other remote tactics are used to encourage extremism among the world's 1.6 billion Muslims."
He said, "Ideologically motivated radicals can recruit, train and regroup even after their leaders have been killed in drone strikes. And the American aversion to long wars fits into Osama bin Laden's prediction that the United States would withdraw from the greater Middle East rather than stay and fight."
Husain Haqqani is the former Ambassador of Pakistan to Sri Lanka (1992–1993) and the United States (2008–2011). He is currently Senior Fellow and Director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute and co-edits the journal 'Current Trends in Islamist Ideology' published by Hudson Institute's Center for Islam, Democracy and Future of the Muslim World. Ambassador Haqqani is also Director of the Center of International Relations, and Professor of the Practice of International Relations at Boston University.