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    U.S. military advisers from the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade are seen at an Afghan National Army base in Maidan Wardak province, Afghanistan August 6, 2018

    US Unlikely to Pull Out All Troops from Afghanistan - Expert

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    This weekend, US Gen. John Nicholson was replaced by US Gen. Austin Scott Miller as head of the US Forces-Afghanistan and the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission in the country.

    At the official ceremony of handing in the mandate, Nicholson pointed out that the coalition's goal in Afghanistan was to support people of the country.

    ​"Peace in Afghanistan is in everyone's best interest. It not only ends the suffering of the Afghan people — peace in Afghanistan makes the entire world safer," Nicholson said, as quoted by the Resolute Support Mission Twitter account.

    On Tuesday, Dr. Marvin Weinbaum, the scholar-in-residence and director of the Middle East Institute's Center for Pakistan and Afghanistan Studies, told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear that Nicholson's call for an end to intercommunal violence does not necessarily portend the complete withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.

    "I think you can interpret that [Nicholson's statement] in two ways," Weinbaum told hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.

    "One is that he is advising his own government to pick up stakes there and leave. I don't think that's what he's doing. I think what he is saying is out of frustration. What he is frustrated about, is that he is finding himself unable to accomplish what he had hoped for, which is essentially that getting the upper hand militarily would pressure the Taliban to negotiate."

    "That hasn't happened, and it's largely because — not because there wasn't military pressure, but because the Taliban really at this point have very little incentive to want to negotiate," Weinbaum added.

    "What I am saying here about Nicholson is that he is not calling for a withdrawal of American forces, although it could be interpreted this way. What he is saying is that we got to get this over with, and whatever we do, let's get on with it," Weinbaum added. 

    The US has long insisted that the Afghan government take part in the peace negotiations. The Taliban has said it is the only stakeholder in Afghanistan that will deal with the US. On Monday, Taliban commander Sher Agha said that the terrorist group is in favor of direct peace negotiations with the Afghan authorities without waiting for the participation of other parties.

    According to AFP, the Taliban announced Tuesday that Mujahideen commander Jalaluddin Haqqani, one of the most prominent terrorist leaders during the 1980s, had died after a long illness. Haqqani was one of the war leaders who fought against the Soviet Union in the 1980s with the help of the US and Pakistan.

    The leadership of the Haqqani network, an offshoot of the Taliban, has now been passed to his son, Sirajuddin Haqqani.

    "I don't really believe that [Sirajuddin Haqqani's] leadership is going to make a difference," Weinbaum told Kiriakou. 

    However, according to Weinbaum, the Taliban has "surged ahead" both militarily and psychologically in Afghanistan during the last few months.

    Afghanistan has for a long time been in a state of political turmoil, with the government unable to establish full control over the country's territory due to various terrorist factions, in particular the Taliban and Daesh. In 2017, after extremely tenuous efforts by Afghanistan's national army to thwart terrorist attacks, US President Donald Trump announced a resolution to send more troops to the war-torn state, while also appealing to NATO members to assist by increasing the numbers of their servicemen present in the war zone.

    The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as a reaction to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, with the mission lasting until December 28, 2014. In 2015, NATO initiated a new mission, Resolute Support, which was aimed at providing training assistance to Afghan security forces. Nevertheless, seemingly endless US operations have shown limited effectiveness at establishing enduring peace in Afghanistan. 

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