By Maj Gen Vinod Saighal01 Feb , 2013
The subject has become centre stage primarily because the USA has made clear its intention to pull out from Afghanistan. The countries that would view it as a positive development would be Pakistan and China along with Saudi Arabia and the UAE that were major backers of the Taliban prior to 2001. However, the latter countries might no longer be as sure as to how they should view the development. Naturally, the countries supplying forces for deployment as part of ISAF would be relieved as well. It is not yet clear whether the US would exit fully as it did in Iraq or whether a residual force would remain; nobody in the country, however, is going to claim success for Mission Afghanistan.
There would be policy makers in Washington who would be unhappy at the turn of events that have obliged them to pull back and leave Afghanistan to its own fate in the sense that for them the fight is over without achieving their objectives.
The Americans are pulling out of their own volition due to the unpopularity of prolonged deployment, high casualty rate as well as their economic difficulties. They have not been defeated as such. They have decided to cut their losses. Speculation is rife within Afghanistan and in the countries in the region most concerned as to what the post-pullout situation will be after the departure of foreign forces that were deployed primarily for stabilizing Afghanistan and preventing it from again falling into the hands of the Taliban. Before entering into a more detailed consideration on the future of Afghanistan it is necessary to have a look at the unfolding scenario within the country as also the likely fallout on the countries most affected. How these countries deal with the fallout also needs to be assessed.