How Will U.S. Pullout Affect Afghan Politics?

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NATO Pullout

WASHINGTON – It is common knowledge that the U.S. plans to withdraw most combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, but there is much less certainty about how the withdrawal will affect Afghan politics.

The Albuquerque International Association will take a look at Afghanistan’s precarious political future next Sunday in Albuquerque as part of a four-part lecture series analyzing the emergence of political Islam and the implications for the U.S. and its allies.

In the series’ second installment, Ali Riaz, Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., and a professor at Illinois State University, will deliver a lecture titled “Islamist Politics in Afghanistan and Pakistan: How Will It Function After U.S. Withdrawal?” The talk, which includes a question-and-answer session, is from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the UNM Continuing Education Building.

In a Journal interview, Riaz said said he’ll explore implications of the U.S. withdrawal for Afghanistan and the surrounding region, especially Pakistan, as well as challenges facing the U.S. and its allies.

“My objective here is to try to lay out two scenarios that might happen post-2014,” Riaz said. “Part of it will look at domestic and regional aspects of the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“You can’t decouple these two countries, especially when you are talking Islamist politics and particularly after the withdrawal. I’d also like to look at what are the implications for U.S. policymakers. What should we anticipate going forward after 2014?”

Riaz said the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan has had “both positive and negative impacts” for all involved.

“Over the past eight years or so, there has been some achievements have been made that wouldn’t have been possible without the United States and international security forces,” he said. “For example, the schools that have been rebuilt over the years, particularly for female students, I’m sure wouldn’t have happened.

“And we should not forget the circumstances that led to the intervention,” he said. “If we had not intervened, the Taliban would have continued (to grow unabated) and it would have been disastrous – not only for Afghanistan but for the region.”

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