US may slow down pullout from Afghanistan, hints policy expert
KABUL (Pajhwok): The United States is likely slow down the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan as a result of escalating militant-linked violence, believes an independent American policy expert.
Robert Hathaway, Wilson Center Public Policy Fellow and an ex-Asia Programme director, said in an interview that the NATO mission to train Afghan security forces had fallen behind schedule due to the increasing insurgency.
He told Russia’s state-owned Sputnik Radio: "US plans of withdrawal are being reviewed." Top NATO commander Gen. John Nicholson would submit his recommendations to the White House early this summer.
According to current plans, the number of US military personnel in the region is to be cut in half by the start of 2017. However, the withdrawal timetable may be revised due to recent developments in the country.
Hathaway, who sensed a sentiment in Washington to slow down the withdrawal, suggestedthe US soldiers should go after the Taliban insurgents to stabilise the country.
"There is still fighting, the principal purpose (of the US forces) remains one of conducting counter-terrorist operations and train and otherwise assist the Afghan security forces," he commented.
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