Sputnik: In your opinion, why is it that NATO has decided to remain in Afghanistan, despite high losses among Afghan forces?
Rahimullah Yusufzai: You know it is still an unfinished job. The NATO forces, led by the US, had intervened in Afghanistan and they were hoping to bring peace and defeat the Taliban*. That did not happen, even after 17 years of fighting. So they are still there with reduced strength. Earlier there were about 150,000 foreign [troops] [in 2010] and now there are more than 60,000.
Sputnik: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that if NATO does leave Afghanistan, the country will be overrun by the Taliban within days and it will become a hub for global terrorist organizations, like ISIS (Daesh)*. Do you agree with that statement?
Rahimullah Yusufzai: He is wrong in saying that if the NATO forces withdraw, then the IS [ISIS/ISIL/Daesh]* will take over. I don't think the IS is that strong. The most powerful group [is] the Taliban. The Taliban will be in control in a number of provinces, but I expect a lot of fighting before the Taliban can take over. So, the NATO forces are worried for two or three reasons. One is that they are not able to win this war. This is a big military alliance. Troops from as many as 49 countries were based in Afghanistan all these years and the superpower, the US, has been trying, but has failed to defeat the Taliban.
Sputnik: A US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has said in a report that billions of dollars of Western foreign aid goes into Afghanistan. Is that really the case?
Rahimullah Yusufzai: You know, the Afghan government and many Afghans keep saying that some of this money is not spent in Afghanistan — it goes back to the US. We do not know how much money [is] really spent in Afghanistan. But the figure is still very high, if you believe the Americans. But, you know, the impact on the ground is debatable, because as the US watchdog, SIGAR, has been saying in these quarterly reports, most of this money is being wasted. The reports say that the planning is not good, there is no oversight, there has been a lot of misuse of money, wastage of money, and the money that has been spent, we don't know how much impact it has on the lives of the Afghan people…
*Daesh (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Islamic State), the Taliban are terrorist groups banned in Russia.
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