WASHINGTON, September 30 (RIA Novosti) - The signing of Bilateral Security Agreement between Kabul and Washington was necessary for stemming the tide of the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, however, it gives no guarantees, believes Bradley Moss, national security lawyer.
"The signing of the long-delayed security was a necessary and critical piece in stemming the tide of the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan," Moss told RIA Novosti on Tuesday. "There are no guarantees and even with the presence of a residual force up until 2016 it remains to be seen whether a stable government can survive without a sizable US force backing it up."
Earlier today, the United States and Afghanistan signed a deal to formally justify the presence of a limited US military contingent in the Central Asian state after the formal withdrawal of international forces. The number of US soldiers that will remain in Afghanistan after 2014 is yet to be determined.
"Unlike with what transpired in Iraq after the collapse of the Status of Forces Agreement negotiations, there will be a legitimate chance for a withdrawal from Afghanistan based on the military reality and not domestic politics," Moss asserted.
The lawyer noted that the US military forces will be largely limited to counter-terrorism operations and training assistance, and so their presence is both substantial and limited at the same time.
"The size of the residual force will be smaller than what it was at its peak and cannot, on its own, serve to pacify large areas or engage in protracted campaigns," he explained. "That said, it is significant enough to reassure the Afghans who have put their lives on the line in reliance upon the idea of American support against the Taliban."
He stressed that the true test for the Afghan Government, however, will come in 2016 when the residual force is drawn down to base levels.
"The Afghan Army and political leaders in the Afghan Government will either rise to the challenge that the Taliban will undoubtedly make for the future of the country or it will fall prey to internal divisions and squander more than a decade of preparation and sacrifice," Moss concluded.
About 41,000 NATO troops remain in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban insurgency alongside Afghan soldiers and police. NATO's combat mission will end in December, with a follow-on force of about 12,000 troops likely to stay into 2015 on training and support duties.