KABUL (Reuters) – Afghanistan’s neighbors, caught off-guard by reports of U.S. plans to withdraw thousands of troops, have begun preparing for the risk that a pullout could send hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing across their borders, diplomats say.
Alarmed by the possibly of a chaotic withdrawal, diplomats from neighboring countries who have been in talks with U.S. officials in Kabul said they were reassessing policies and would ramp up border preparations.
“At this point there is no clarity about the withdrawal, but we have to keep a clear action plan ready,” said a senior Asian diplomat based in Kabul. “The situation can turn from bad to worse very quickly.”
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WNU Editor: I concur with this analysis. It is a given that if the U.S. leaves, the Taliban and their supporters will launch massive attacks to dislodge the Afghan government. Their attacks will not only devastate the country’s fragile economy, but everyone knows that the Taliban would be focused on exacting revenge against those who support the government. I would not be surprised if 5 – 10 million poeple will flee.
Update: The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan still believes peace is possible …. Top U.S. commander in Afghanistan sees peace opportunity in 2019 (Reuters).