Afghanistan far from stable: Singh
The Taliban had been under unprecedented military pressure. "But is Afghanistan likely to collapse to some Taliban onslaught, as we move through a transition?" the deputy special representative asked.
But Vikram Singh hastened to say: "We don't think so. Are we able and are we committed to staying engaged in Afghanistan and not sort of repeating the folly of the 1990s? We're committed to that."
Speaking at a Washington-based think tank, he asked: "Does that mean we're going to be spending $100 billion a year and have a hundred thousand troops there forever? No, because it's not going to take that."
Afghanistan, he said, was not going to collapse as long as the international community stayed engaged to a good enough degree in that country."Now, I don't know how long it will be sustainable and how good it would look if there were no political progress, so we have got to be focused on reconciliation."
Singh said the idea of political process had taken root. Al Qaeda was definitely reeling under increased American and international pressure. Obviously, bin Laden being dead is the greatest sign of that."
The official said the lack of political settlement in Afghanistan that set it on a different course was unlikely to lead the US to an absence of terrorism in the region. "It's also going to mean that we face continued instability in that region for as long as we can imagine. We should be prepared for that."
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