Afghan Anxiety

The announcement by President Obama of a significant troop drawdown has created a sense of anxiety in Afghans. The majority of people across the country and especially in the south are concerned that what was achieved in the past year and a half as a result of the surge will be endangered by the troop drawdown, as they do not see enough strength yet in the local security forces and civilian sector to be able to hold against an increasingly brutal and violent Taliban and their Al-Qaida allies," says Asia Society Associate Fellow Ahmad Nader Nadery.

In addition, the discussion of withdrawing troops without any clear commitment of continued support to Afghanistan -- through a strategic partnership agreement -- gives people a feeling that the U.S., after achieving its objective of killing Osama bin Laden, is once again going to abandon Afghans.

The narrowed objectives set by President Obama in his June speech about Afghanistan and a shift from counter-insurgency to counter-terrorism are perceived here on ground by Afghans as an agenda in which Afghanistan's long-term stability and hopes for a better future are no longer part of the U.S. definition of success. This sense of uncertainty is going to make the transition of responsibility to Afghan forces even more challenging and difficult."

Nader, who based in Kabul, is a commissioner at the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. To arrange an interview, contact the Asia Society communications department at 212-327-9271 or