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    Afghan Economy to Plunge With Fewer NATO Troops, Aid: US Defense Analyst

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    Director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at the Independent Institute claims that the economy of Afghanistan might suffer significantly after the withdrawal of the principal part of NATO troops and reduced international aid.

    WASHINGTON, December 30 (Sputnik) — The economy of Afghanistan might suffer significantly after the withdrawal of the principal part of NATO troops and reduced international aid, Ivan Eland, US defense analyst and director of the Center on Peace and Liberty at the Independent Institute told Sputnik.

    "The Afghan economy will likely plunge when international troops and aid are lessened. A viable private economy does not exist [in Afghanistan], and what does exist will probably flee with the likely increase in violence," Eland said Monday.

    The expert said that the Afghan economy is more than 90 percent dependent on international aid, including that from the United States.

    "Most of this will go away fairly soon. This is artificial prosperity, not real prosperity," he stated.

    On December 28, NATO officially ended its International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in the country. On January 1, the alliance is set to launch the Resolute Support mission there, which does not envisage any combat operations for NATO. The bloc will continue to provide training and financial assistance to Afghan forces.

    Eland claimed that despite years of NATO troops' presence in the country, Afghanistan is not safer than it was back in 2001.

    "In terms of numbers of deaths of security forces, 2014 was the worst year on record since 2001," he underlined, pointing out that the Taliban is resurgent in many areas.

    Eland emphasized that the problem of drug production and trafficking has not been solved or improved, but worsened.

    "The drug trade spiked after the Taliban rule collapsed. In addition to private drug lords, the Taliban subsequently got into protecting them to earn cash for their insurgency. So opium production has soared," he said.

    Eland expressed doubt whether the current leadership of Afghanistan, elected in 2014, will change or somehow improve the situation in the country due to heavy dependence on the US forces.

    "The country will probably see increased violence and either a governmental collapse and a Taliban takeover or a negotiated settlement with that brutal group," he concluded.

    On Sunday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced the termination of the ISAF mission in Afghanistan, calling it a success both for the Central Asian nation and the bloc's member countries.

    The new mission will bring some 12,000 personnel from NATO member states as well as 14 partner countries.

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    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    NATO, economy, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Afghanistan
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