Despite its ongoing negotiations with the Taliban to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, the United States is moving to maintain a counter-terrorism force in the country to reassure those who fear the situation will escape after the withdrawal.
According to the first elements of the draft agreement with the Taliban, which was published in the media, that the withdrawal will be from five military bases deployed by US forces within 135 days.
At the end of this phase, 8600 troops remain in Afghanistan compared to between 13 and 14 thousand today. The agreement is based on the assumption that the Taliban, in return, would end their war against the government.
If this is done, the task of remaining US soldiers will be limited to combating ISIS and al-Qaeda militants who have benefited from the chaos to boost their presence in the country.
The US forces currently in Afghanistan have two tasks: training special forces and the Afghan Air Force, and participating in counter-terrorism operations.
No details were given on the composition of the US forces that will remain in the country after the implementation of the plan, but the commander of the US Army General Joe Danford hinted that an anti-terrorism force may remain in the country at an initial stage.
He said in a press conference: “I do not use the word withdrawal at the moment .. I say we want to make sure that Afghanistan will not be a stronghold of jihadists.”
“We want to make sure that we will be able to defend our interests.”
The war in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, in response to the September 11, 2001, attacks by al Qaeda, which was based in Afghanistan and supported by the Taliban.
The logic behind adhering to keep US troops in Afghanistan is to make sure not to plan in this country to commit new attacks in the United States, and also to ensure that the agreement with the Taliban will not help in the growing influence of jihadist groups.
“It is not necessary to maintain a large military presence to counter the terrorist threat in Afghanistan,” says Michael Kogelman of the Wilson Center for Studies.
The analyst fears that ISIL will grow stronger if Taliban militants join him for refusing to agree with the United States.
It is possible to reduce the number of troops by a certain percentage to move negotiations, but they must keep counterterrorism forces and a US and NATO air force to counter the terrorist threat of ISIS, Al Qaeda and the Taliban,” they said.
Many Afghans fear the US withdrawal will allow the Taliban to return to the political front, impose restrictions on public freedoms and ignore power-sharing with the current government.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s spokesman said on Wednesday that authorities in Kabul were “apprehensive” about the draft deal with the Taliban and wanted clarifications about it and the risks it could carry.