Be careful what you wish for

Taliban

Imran Khan may be getting his wish for American troops pull out of Afghanistan sooner than he thought. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, Obama is exploring ways to withdraw US troops ahead of the 2014 deadline.

The Obama administration is exploring a shift in the military’s mission in Afghanistan to an advisory role as soon as next year, senior officials said, a move that would scale back U.S. combat duties well ahead of their scheduled conclusion at the end of 2014.

Of course, wishing for America to get a black eye is one thing, but such events rarely happen without unintended consequences. Could there be any downside to a more rapid American withdrawal? A report in Financial Times notes that TTP sees an American withdrawal as an invitation to increase attacks on Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Taliban has opened a new front in the north of the country exploiting the departure of US troops from outposts in eastern Afghanistan to kill scores of members of the security forces in cross-border attacks, the Pakistani army says.

In an ironic twist, anti-Pakistan TTP militants are using the very tactics they learned from Afghan Taliban militants who use cross-border attacks to strike Afghan and NATO forces.

The Pakistani militants’ recent success in exploiting Afghan soil to stage attacks across the frontier represents a mirror image of the traditional pattern of a war in which Afghan Taliban factions have for years used safe havens in Pakistan to attack Nato forces in Afghanistan.

For those who think that the Americans would never leave Afghanistan because they are planning to build ‘permanent military bases’ or some other conspiracy, think back one week to the surprise news that we got about American plans in Iraq. Despite all the conspiracy theories about Americans using Iraq as a permanent military base to project their ‘global hegemony’, it turns out they’re going home this year.

For years and years the complaint was that the Americans were going to abandon us to our fate against Taliban militants and other extremist groups. Even though the relationship has been at its most difficult point this year, American officials like Hillary Clinton continue their pledge not to repeat the past and abandon us again. But there’s a difference between being abandoned by the Americans and snubbing them. If we tell them to leave, and they grant our wish, then we will be left on our own to deal with a growing militant threat. And this time, we’ll have nobody else to blame.

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