Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat on Thursday said that the withdrawal of United States troops from Afghanistan should not create space for “disruptors” to step in and for violence to continue in the country, PTI reported.
United States President Joe Biden had on Wednesday announced that the US would begin its final withdrawal from Afghanistan on May 1 and complete the process by September 11. Soon after Biden’s announcement, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance would also pull out nearly 7,000 non-American troops from the country.
At the Raisina Dialogue on Thursday, Rawat said that India would be happy if the pullout of US forces and North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies from Afghanistan leads to peace in the country.
“Afghanistan is a nation which is rich in resources and there are nations which tend to exploit resources for their own benefit,” he added, without naming any country. “If that happens, it should be prevented. The international community must step in to ensure that Afghanistan is for the Afghans.”
American experts are of the view that the likelihood of a Taliban resurgence after US pullout from Afghanistan would be of tremendous concern to India, PTI reported.
“When the Taliban controlled Afghanistan in the late 1990s, they welcomed militants and terrorists of all stripes to train, recruit, and fundraise from Afghanistan,” Lisa Curtis, former National Security Council senior director for South and Central Asia, told PTI. “Many of those terrorists, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad trained for operations in India, such as the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament.”
Terrorism far from being eradicated, says China
China on Thursday said that the security situation in Afghanistan remained complicated and terrorism in the country was far from over.
“We hold that foreign troops in Afghanistan should withdraw in a responsible and orderly manner to ensure a stable transition and prevent terrorist forces from taking advantage of potential chaos to fester,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a press briefing.
The spokesperson added that the US was the “single largest external factor” in Afghanistan. “When making decisions and taking actions, the US should respect Afghanistan’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, safeguard progress made in peaceful reconstruction, and fully accommodate regional countries’ legitimate security concerns,” he added.
US presence in Afghanistan
The US and the Taliban had signed a deal in Doha, Qatar, on February 29 last year to bring peace in Afghanistan and allow US troops to return home. Under the pact, the US had agreed to withdraw its troops in 14 months.
Since the September 11, 2001 attack, the US has spent more than $1 trillion (more than 74 lakh crore) in fighting and rebuilding in Afghanistan, reported PTI. Around 2,400 US soldiers have died, along with thousands of Afghan troops, civilians, Taliban insurgents.