Friday Aug 16, 201310:16 AM GMT
Michael Burns: US plans to stay in Afghanistan forever
A political analyst says “there is no way” the US “will leave Afghanistan”, calling the US government’s claims of leaving Afghanistan “a laughable proposition”.


“The US government’s plan was to stay in Afghanistan with a presence forever, almost like Korea,” Michael Burns told Press TV in a phone interview on Thursday.

“There’s no way this government will leave Afghanistan. They’ll look for every excuse. They’ll deny having a strategic plan that calls for this,” said Burns

Burns also pointed out that Washington’s refusal to leave Afghanistan is “part of a greater attempt to surround Iran as well as to maintain hegemonic presence and control over the Middle East.”

Gen. Joseph Dunford, the current U.S. commander in occupied Afghanistan, has insisted that the future of Afghanistan depends on keeping US forces in the country beyond 2014, saying that a deal with the Afghan government on a “sustained” presence would come soon.

Meanwhile, former NATO supreme commander Admiral James Stavridis wrote Wednesday in a commentary that 15,000 US and allied forces should remain in Afghanistan after the bulk of foreign troops withdraw as planned in 2014.

"I believe the correct number is about 9,000 US and 6,000 allied troops, for a total of about 15,000 allied trainers who would focus on mentoring, training, and advising the 350,000 strong Afghan National Security Forces," Stavridis wrote in Foreign Policy.

The Pentagon told Congress last month in its biannual “Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan” report that Afghans will need considerable training and foreign aid beyond 2014 in order to fight the Taliban militants.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has accused the Taliban and the US of working in concert to convince Afghans that violence will worsen if foreign troops leave as planned by the end of 2014.

Washington and Kabul have been locked in negotiations over a strategic partnership agreement, which aims to pave the way for US forces to remain in Afghanistan after 2014.

In June, Karzai suspended talks with Washington on a long-term security agreement in response to the opening of a Taliban office in the Qatari capital, Doha, for planned negotiations between the US and the Afghan militant group.

The US led the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but insecurity remains high in the country despite the current presence of 66,000 US forces there.

AN/ISH
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