Friday, February 14, 2014

Withdrawing from Afghanistan - 1989 and 2014 -- "When the Russians withdrew from our country, we Afghans were euphoric. We thought from now on we would celebrate not just two Islamic festivals a year, but three," recounts 61-year old Ahmad. But the Kabul-based teacher says that his people couldn't have sensed the disaster which was about to happen. "As Afghans began to kill each other, there was no more talk of celebrations," Ahmad told DW. --- 25 years after the pullback of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, NATO-led ISAF forces, which have been in the country since 2001, are scheduled to withdraw by the end of this year. Despite all the differences between the two military interventions - for instance, one was internationally condemned, while the other was approved - there are parallels and lessons. -- Similar to the situation after the Soviet withdrawal, Afghanistan will once again depend on sustained external support for its survival. It is unclear whether and how long the government in Kabul will be able to stay in power without a massive foreign military presence. Afghanistan experts remain skeptical. "Without ISAF troops on the ground, the progressive forces in the country will be on their own, and I doubt whether they will be in the position to fight back against the extremists and preserve the few gains that have been made so far," said Afghan expert Knabe. - More, DW, at:


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