US decision to withdraw troops evokes mixed response from locals in Afghanistan

Kabul: The people of Afghanistan have shown mixed reactions towards the US decision to withdraw its forces from the militancy-battered country by September 11 this year.

US President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that Washington would end its longest war by starting a pull-out of troops from Afghanistan on May 1 and would complete the process by September 11, the day when New York and Washington were allegedly attacked by the Al-Qaida network in 2001.

“In my opinion, the US forces withdrawal at this stage when the Taliban outfit, Al-Qaida network, and the hardliner Islamic State group are active is not logic, because the U.S. invaded Afghanistan to diminish terrorists but the terrorist groups are more powerful than the past,” a Kabul resident Farakh Shah told Xinhua news agency.

Another Kabul resident Mohammad Ayub expressed concerns that the pull-out of US-led forces could lead to factional fighting in Afghanistan, as many armed groups and armed warlords still exist in the country.

In the meantime, a former government official and former anti-Taliban commander Abdul Basir Salangi has welcomed the US decision to withdraw troops, saying Afghan forces could defend the country independently.

“The foreign forces withdrawal would enable Afghan forces to independently chalk out military plans on how to deal with the insurgent groups,” Salangi told local media.

Another Afghan resident Mohammad Iqbal said, “The US as a big power is not a reliable friend, because over the past 20 years it has failed to win the war on terror. The US inked a so-called Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with Afghanistan a few years ago but failed to act upon the accord and (now is) leaving Afghanistan alone in the war on terror today.”

Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has expressed his respect for the US decision and said his government will work with US partners to ensure a smooth transition.

According to Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of Afghanistan`s High Council for National Reconciliation, the Taliban’s belief that it can regain power with the foreign forces’ pull-out could be a miscalculation.

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