Pakistan wants US troops to stay in Afghanistan
President Barack Obama has already announced to keep 9,800 military personnel in Afghanistan until late 2016. That force will then draw down to 5,500.
On Thursday, top Republican presidential runner Donald Trump said: "I think you have to stay in Afghanistan for a while, because of the fact that you're right next to Pakistan, which has nuclear weapons…"
But Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz said in an interview with CNN the US should stay in Afghanistan but not because of his country's nuclear programme.
"In our view, a sudden withdrawal would not be advisable," Aziz said, arguing the nascent Afghan Air Force (AAF) still needed a lot in terms of support and training.
The US is training AAF pilots and supplying it with MD-530 light-reconnaissance helicopters. It also plans to provide Afghanistan with 20 A-29 Super Tucano close air support aircraft.
Aziz believed the Taliban could not achieve an outright victory on the battlefield. However, he said the group was capable of continuing the insurgency for an indefinite period.
For that reason, the advisor said, the goal of peace in Afghanistan could be achieved only through an Afghan-owned reconciliation process.
Tending to downplay the Islamic State presence in Afghanistan, he said Pakistani Taliban’s splinter groups -- with no connection to Iraq and Syria-- had joined the outfit for mercenary motives.
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