Washington: Several American experts have argued against the idea of keeping no US troops in war torn Afghanistan after 2014, saying that this will encourage hardline Taliban leaders against any reconciliation talks.
"The current public discussion of zero US troop presence in Afghanistan after 2014 will encourage those hardliner elements of the Taliban who have no interest in a negotiated settlement and believe they can simply wait the Americans out," eminent security analyst and counter terrorism expert Peter Bergen said.
"It also discourages the many millions of Afghans who see a longtime US presence as the best guarantor that the Taliban won`t come back in any meaningful way and also an important element in dissuading powerful neighbours such as Pakistan from interference in Afghanistan`s internal affairs," he added.
Lisa Curtis of The Heritage Foundation argued that considering leaving no US troops behind in Afghanistan after 2014 would undermine US security interests, as it would pave the way for the Taliban to regain influence in Afghanistan and cripple the US ability to conduct counter-terrorism missions in the region.
"Obama instead should commit the US to maintaining a robust troop presence (at least 15,000-20,000) in Afghanistan after 2014 in order to train and advise the Afghan troops and conduct counter-terrorism missions as necessary," she added.
Meanwhile Congressman Mike Pompeo, a member of the House`s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, responded to news that US President Barack Obama is considering a total pullout from Afghanistan after 2014, saying that the US intelligence gathering operations rely on a strong presence in Afghanistan.
" I hope the President does not make the mistake of jeopardising our national security by taking the pressure off of al-Qaeda and the Taliban and allowing them to grow stronger each day," Pompoe said.