`Afghan withdrawal plan can hint end of US Empire`

US Prez’s plan of withdrawing 33,000 American troops from Afghan by Sept 2012 will fail, a US expert has said.

Washington: United States President Barak Obama’s plan of withdrawing 33,000 American troops from Afghanistan by September 2012 will fail, a US expert has said.

Barry Strauss, chair of the Department of History at Cornell University and an author of 11 books on military history, said: “President Obama has pitched the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan as a tactical decision, but the real issue is strategic.”

“The President argues that we can have our cake and eat it too: start bringing soldiers home and also keep Afghanistan as a terror-free ally as well. But wars aren’t won by troop withdrawals. By following the President’s course of action, we go down the road to losing Afghanistan,” he added.
Strauss further reckons that the Taliban will “wait and strike to retake Afghanistan”.

“All empires over-extend themselves and then pull back. Sometimes they pay a price, as the Soviets did when they lost Afghanistan and then saw the collapse of communism at home. But the Romans withdrew from Germany after a humiliating defeat under Augustus – and the Roman Empire in the West went on to flourish for another four centuries,” he said.

“Which model fits the beginning of the American retreat from Afghanistan, Rome or the Soviets? That is the question,” he added.

The pullout is scheduled to begin in July and run continuously over the subsequent 14 months, and will lower the US presence from 100,000 to less than 70,000.

The US will continue with ‘steady’ withdrawals after that timeframe, Obama said, without providing specific numbers.

“Huge challenges remain. This is the beginning - but not the end - of our effort to wind down this war. We will have to do the hard work of keeping the gains that we have made, while we draw down our forces and transition responsibility for security to the Afghan government,” Obama had said.

When completed, the pullout would end the surge that Obama launched in December 2009 to confront a resurgent Taliban and intensify the war against al Qaeda.


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