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NATO withdrawal... By Javed

06 February, 2014

What would happen next after the withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan is a million dollar question. A renowned scholar and Vice Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh states, "We could acknowledge that there are some things even the world's sole superpower cannot do; fixing Afghanistan is one of them."

After a bloody war for more than a decade in Afghanistan, it is widely believed now that the US has achieved nothing in its war against terror except the killing of Osama bin Laden and some chiefs of various militant groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan. On the other hand, the US has spent more than $ 650 billion on this war. It lost almost 4,000 of its soldiers and thousands of troops have been through irreparable wounds and psychological trauma.

Unfortunately Pakistan and India have not decided to hold negotiations on the post-withdrawal situation. If Pakistan and India insist on keeping themselves involved in Afghanistan, the situation will only turn from bad to worse. The Afghan president's delaying tactics vis--vis the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) has muddied the water further. If the US leaves Afghanistan without leaving a residual army behind, the region will fall completely into the hands of the extremists, who are already eyeing Afghanistan's capture once the US is out and gone completely.

Afghanistan is the only country that produces a large quantity of poppy crop. The total volume of the illegal trade of poppy is more than a trillion dollars per annum. Despite expending billions of dollars, the US has failed to stop poppy cultivation there. For militants in Afghanistan, the illegal trade of poppy is the only source of income. This illicit trade around the globe has not only made millions of people addicted to drugs, it has also addressed the terrorists' financing needs.

Afghanistan is not out of trouble. In fact troubles are waiting round the corner to embrace it, unless the people of the country and its neighbours get wiser to behave in the national interest of Afghanistan.

Javed Ali Kalhoro
Islamabad

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