US President Donald Trump's decision to pull out almost half of the 15,000 American troops stationed in Afghanistan has made several strategy and security experts fear the absolute worst - some saying a 9/11-like attack on the US cannot be completely ruled out.
Trump has decided to pull out half of the American troops from Afghanistan in the next two months - a decision that has not gone down too well with even Republican lawmakers. Many see it as a sudden move that could create a vacuum in the security situation in Afghanistan, paving the way for Taliban and other terrorist organisations to rebuild. A similar withdrawal in the 1990s had emboldened Taliban and is blamed for eventually resulting in the terrorist organisation targeting the Twin Towers in New York in 2001. One of the most scathing attack against the planned pullout came from Republican senator Lindsey Graham who feared an encore of 9/11. "The conditions in Afghanistan – at the present moment – make American troop withdrawals a high risk strategy," he tweeted. "If we continue on our present course we are setting in motion the loss of all our gains and paving the way toward a second 9/11."
The conditions in Afghanistan – at the present moment – make American troop withdrawals a high risk strategy.
If we continue on our present course we are setting in motion the loss of all our gains and paving the way toward a second 9/11.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) December 20, 2018
John Slouborough, a security analyst based in Washington, has echoed similar views. "While whether the US has been successful in bringing peace to Afghanistan is a complicated question with a complex answer, it is clear that our presence there has ensured our security here. But is the Taliban absolutely down and out? Absolutely not. Can they do another 9/11? Possibly, if permitted," he was quoted as saying by US news outlets.
Taliban indeed remains a prominent threat with a report prepared by US Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) claiming that the terrorist organisation's control in the country has increased in the last several months. This too could possibly be why US allies are not too pleased with Trump's decision to pull out a major chunk of his troops.
US allies are also not too pleased with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis quitting over amply evident clahses with Trump over pulling out troops from Syria and Afghanistan. He has long been seen as the voice of reason in the Trump cabinet and his exit may further alarm traditional American allies like France and Germany. "His resignation is a turning point," Jurgen Hardt, member of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, told German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk. He further said that Trump's decision is being praised by Russian President Vladimir Putin. " That alone should be a cause of concern for us. We should be ready for more such troop pullouts by the US."
India too could potentially suffer a jolt from Trump's move to take back his troops from Afghanistan. The US has wanted India to play a key role in the peace process in Afghanistan although New Delhi has steered clear. Nonetheless, the country has business, trade and commercial interests which may suffer if the situation worsens in Afghanistan after US pull out.