Reduction of USA troops diplomatic victory for Pakistan

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The US is by far the biggest and most influential member of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

"The Taliban has steadily captured territory in recent years and it's reasonable to expect that trend to continue", says Graeme Smith, an Afghanistan analyst and a consultant for the International Crisis Group, although he adds that in practical terms the withdrawal "may not make a significant difference on the battlefield", and Washington could replace departed troops with security contractors.

USA troops stormed into Afghanistan in November 2001 in an invasion triggered by the September 11 attacks.

The announcement seems certain to complicate efforts to reach a peace deal, mostly because it gives the Taliban leverage by allowing them to hold off until a total United States withdrawal, or step up their demands over a weakened Afghan government.

"A USA military drawdown without a well thought out strategy behind it and without concerted efforts with internal and regional stakeholders could further exacerbate the conflict in the country and intensify competition among regional stakeholders", Mir says, referring to countries that have been accused of providing support to the Taliban, including Pakistan, Iran, and Russian Federation.

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It asserted that the representatives of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the U.S. had expressed deep regrets regarding Taliban's decision to stay away from direct talks with the peace negotiators of the government. Officials now worry that any move to withdraw USA troops this year could dampen those prospects and simply encourage the Taliban to wait it out until they can take advantage of the gaps when the forces leave. Observers, however, have warned that the USA withdrawal could have a "devastating" impact on stability in Kabul and any such move would offer Taliban militants a psychological edge in the conflict and propaganda victory. "This will also force the Afghan government to think about peace as a short-term prospect instead of something that could be delayed for years".

U.S. President Donald Trump considers the war in Afghanistan a lost cause and has long pushed to pull the troops out. Speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press, the official said Taliban officials think the promised departure could help the peace process because it could "lead to trust building that the USA wants a political solution".

Several high ranking Afghan military officials, who spoke on condition they not be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the media, said the morale of Afghanistan's undertrained and poorly equipped security forces was already at a dangerously low ebb.

On Friday, Harun Chakhansuri, a top spokesman for Afghan president Ashraf Ghani, however, told media that Washington's drawdown would have no major impact on Afghanistan's ability to defend itself.

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