LONDON: This is with reference to Farhat Taj’s piece “What will happen after the Americans leave?” (June 29). The emphasis on America leaving Afghanistan is overblown. For one, the July 2011 deadline is not as rigid as the media makes it out to be. Second, the US is not like the Soviet Union. Even if US military operations were scaled down, it’s unlikely that America will leave Afghanistan completely. America might suspend military activities, but a large development and civilian assistance programme are likely to remain.
In addition, small scale operations targeting al Qaeda operatives and predator drones attacks will stay at the forefront of American tactical intervention in Afghanistan. Once the US does begin to withdraw, if it has learned anything from history, it will not want to leave a power vacuum.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2010.