The new U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker, said on Monday that the United States would not maintain permanent bases in the Central Asian country after the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2014.
Speaking during the swearing in ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Crocker said Washington would continue to assist the Afghan government after the withdrawal, but stressed that the United States was not interested in using Afghanistan as a forward base “to influence neighboring nations.”
"Beyond 2014 - even when Afghans have transitioned to a full security lead - I'm confident that we and the international community will be in a position to work with Afghanistan to prevent any forcible return of the Taliban to power," Crocker said.
According to President Barack Obama’s plan, Washington will send home 10,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2011, another 23,000 soldiers by September 2012, and complete the withdrawal by the end of 2014.
Crocker said the U.S. would not repeat the mistake of cutting abruptly the support for the Afghan authorities as it happened in 1989 after the Soviet retreat from the country. The lack of U.S. assistance at the time allowed the Taliban movement to gain strength and led to a long-running civil war. “Those days are gone,” the diplomat said.