Millennium Post

Afghan civil war feared as Talibans survive US onslaught

With the end of the US surge in Afghanistan, the Taliban have survived the biggest military onslaught the West will throw at them – and fears are growing that a disastrous new civil war looms.

The last of the extra 33,000 soldiers President Barack Obama deployed nearly three years ago left late last month, and the remaining NATO force of some 112,000 will follow by the end of 2014.

Although a small contingent of foreign troops may remain to conduct counter-terror operations, Western politicians stress that what Obama once called the ‘good war’ will ‘end’ in 2014.

But while the unpopular conflict might end for NATO, some analysts predict a collapse of the Western-backed government and a civil war worse than that in the 1990s when Soviet troops withdrew after their own 10-year occupation.

‘I think it is only a matter of time before the government collapses. That is certain,’ says Candace Rondeaux of the International Crisis Group. ‘What will come to dominate in Kabul will be chaos and violence. And the fracturing that we saw in the 1990s will only be compounded by the fact that there are more weapons in the country and greater incentives now for a lot more brutality than we have seen before.’

Afghan expert Gilles Dorronsoro of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace also predicts renewed strife, but goes further to foresee a Taliban return to power. ‘After 2014, the level of US support for the Afghan regime will be limited and, after a new phase in the civil war, a Taliban victory will likely follow,’ he wrote in a recent analysis.


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