Contrary to what the
Afghan Officials Concerned about Pending US Troop Pullout
The US announcement that it will start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan is causing consternation in Kabul.Read the whole thing. There is some discussion of the nonsensical belief that NATO will fill the gap.
Speaking at the Pentagon on January 4, US President George Bush confirmed that American forces in Afghanistan would be reduced from 19,000 to about 16,500 during 2006. Over the same timeframe US troop levels in Iraq will decline from 17 to 15 combat brigades.
Many Afghans are interpreting Bush’s comments as laying the groundwork for a complete pull-out of American troops in Afghanistan, despite repeated assurances made by US officials that Washington "will never abandon" Kabul. In private conversations, senior Afghan officials are using harsh language in criticizing the Bush administration’s decision. They see the withdrawal as driven by US domestic factors, namely the Bush administration’s desire to bolster the Republican Party’s prospects in congressional elections in late 2006. Republicans have been weakened by a widening corruption probe in Washington. Bringing troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan could help revive the Republican Party’s image [Yet the liberals™ would have you believe that the kind of "discussion" (read "Bush bashing") that they propose is good for the U.S. - ed.].
While US forces appear to be viewed as an unwelcome presence by a growing number of Iraqis, the majority of Afghans still consider American forces as a security asset. They also view the American military presence as a tangible sign that the international community remains committed to assisting Afghanistan’s reconstruction.
This stuff is important, we should be paying attention.