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Full U.S. Pullout Could Trigger a “Total Civil War” in Afghanistan: Ex-U.S. Envoys

(Last Updated On: September 4, 2019)

A number of former U.S. diplomats warned in a statement that Afghanistan could collapse in a “total civil war” if the U.S. pullout all of its troop from the country before a final peace agreement between the Taliban and Afghan government.

The statement was released on the Atlantic Council website, a think tank, by nine former U.S. diplomats on Tuesday.

The warning was issued after the U.S. Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad announced a draft agreement with the Taliban for an initial reduction of nearly 5,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

“A major troop withdrawal must be contingent on a final peace. The initial US drawdown should not go so far or so fast that the Taliban believe that they can achieve military victory,” the statement said

“In that case, they will not make compromises for peace with other Afghan political forces,” the statement added. 

According to the deal, the U.S. would reduce its troop from 14,000 soldiers to 8000-9000 soldiers. In exchange, the Taliban would agree to renounce al-Qaeda and bar it from activities such as fundraising, recruiting, training and operational planning in areas under Taliban control.

The ex-envoys expressed their doubt on the possibility of peace in Afghanistan saying, “It is not clear whether peace is possible.”

“The Taliban have made no clear statements about the conditions they would accept for a peaceful settlement with their fellow Afghans, nor do they have a track record of working with other political forces,” the diplomats underscored.

“An outcome far worse than the status quo, namely a return to the total civil war that consumed Afghanistan as badly as the war with the Russians and something that could follow a breakdown in negotiations if we remove too much support from the Afghan state,” the diplomats said referring to a possible civil war in Afghanistan after U.S. full withdrawal.

Meanwhile, the U.S. envoys expressed their support for “a negotiated peace in Afghanistan, a limited force drawdown as part of getting peace negotiations going, and the substantial force drawdown later that peace would allow.”

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