Defense analysts warned US Congress Friday against the Afghanistan withdrawal announcement amid increasing violence in the country despite efforts for peace.
The acting defense secretary of the United States, Christopher Miller, last week announced that US troop presence in Afghanistan and Iraq will be reduced to 2,500 troops each by mid-January.
“Absent a peace deal, the further withdrawal of US forces will likely continue to shift the balance of power on the ground in the military campaign in favor of the Taliban and other militant groups, including al-Qaeda,” said Seth Jones, a senior adviser at the public policy foundation Center for Strategic and International Studies, as quoted by The Well News.
The House Armed Services Committee called the hearing in response to the US Defense Department announcement on the drawdown of troops.
“I think it’s important that we continue to maintain the mission to stop transnational terrorists’ threats,” Chairman of the US House Armed Services Committee Smith said. “South Asia is a place where there are a lot of ideological extremists. If Afghanistan falls apart, we will be right back where were on 9/11.”
Other analysts at the hearing said that more drawdown from Afghanistan will change the balance of power in the battlefields in the favor of the Taliban.
“In my view, the drawdown policy announced Tuesday was a mistake,” said Stephen D. Biddle, a senior fellow for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations.
“We should maintain our current troop level chiefly for its political values as bargaining leverage in the ongoing talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban,” Biddle said.
Last week Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry said that the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces are capable to defend the country if there is a withdrawal of international forces from the country.
Countries in the region, including Pakistan, Iran and Russia have also asked for a responsible withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.
This comes as violence has significantly increased in the country despite peace efforts. Meanwhile, the peace negotiations in Doha have stalled over differences on ground rules for the talks.