Afghanistan and US Military

Valets have no choice. Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s ‘strong’ criticism against continuing American attacks on Afghan homes matters little in shaping Washington’s Afghan policy. It’s now certain that American troops and that too not in small numbers will remain on Afghan soil even beyond 2014. In truth they are not going to allow peace to return to Afghanistan. It is yet to be decided how many NATO and American soldiers will be ready for any type of combat situation as per the Bilateral Security Agreement which has been broadly accepted by Afghan politicians and approved by tribal leaders.

Americans have no respect for Afghan homes. It means civil war will continue. It’s not in the best interest of America to completely destroy the Taliban establishment.

Meanwhile, insurgency has stepped up its efforts to strike the Afghan forces, hoping to undermine confidence in government institutions during the security transition. The number of civilians killed or wounded in Afghanistan has risen by nearly 30% during 2013. The insurgents have led complex and daring attacks in major cities like Kabul, where Afghans find themselves in explosions and bullets fires. The Taliban has been causing the vast majority of casualties with increased attacks and indiscriminate use of roadside bombs and suicide attacks in major population centres. During 2013, about 2600 civilians were killed, and 5000 injured, in war related violence. Reports of women and children being killed by roadside bombs are almost a daily couurrence, particularly in southern Afghanistan. Civilian casualties caused by Afghan forces have also jumped substantially.

Though the US and Afghanistan have reportedly agreed on the draft of a mutual security pact indicating that US troops could remain in the country until 2024, the US insists that some final details still need to be clarified.

While the 25-page "Security and Defense Cooperation Agreement Between the United States of America and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan" is still unsigned, the deal displays a willingness of the US to retain their military outposts for many years while continuing to pay to support Afghan security forces.

The presence of up to 15,000 American troops could potentially last until 2024, according to the document, which was released for public viewing by NBC News.

Without such an accord however, the US might have to pull out from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, as among other things the agreement regulates its troops' immunity from Afghan law.

The early draft of the document states that "The Parties acknowledge that continued US military operations to defeat al-Qaeda and its affiliates may be appropriate and agree to continue their close cooperation and coordination toward that end. "

It also attempted to clarify the on-going contentious issue of whether the US military would be permitted to search civilian homes.

And according to paragraph 4, the deal "may be terminated by mutual written agreement or by either Party upon two years' written notice."

The NBC document is dated July 25, 2013, which accounts for some discrepancies in the document’s terms with the official statement. No doubt Hamid Karzai has long vocally expressed objections to US troops being permitted to enter Afghan homes and US troop immunity to Afghan law. However, the US maintained that both conditions are essential. Afghans will have to live in a situation of permanent civil war even after the so-called pull-out of American troops and American will be ‘officially’ permitted to enter Afghan homes in ‘exceptional’ circumstances.

Vol. 46, No. 26, Jan 5 -11, 2014

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