US-Afghan Withdrawal Expected Earlier:
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in a briefing to the parliament members on June 1, said that the US withdrawal is expected by July 4. But, the deadline set by US president Joe Biden was September 11.
On Monday, June 1, the briefing was arranged to assess Pakistan’s role in the current circumstances in the neighbouring country. Specifically, it was about the US requesting the airbases in Pakistan to continue its footprint in the region.
The US has started the withdrawal from May 1. The process will complete by September 11 as per Joe Biden’s revised plan. However, according to FM Qureshi, the withdrawal will be completed earlier by July.
Predictions about Post-withdrawal of US:
The total deployed forces of the US and NATO in Afghanistan are 9,500. The increase in the withdrawal speed has raised the concern of another civil war launch in Afghanistan.
Taliban Response about Delay in Withdrawal:
Initially, the US signed to withdraw all its forces on May 1, 2021, according to part of the Doha agreement in February 2020. But, after looking at the progress of few months, President Biden extended the deadline to September 11.
In response, the Afghan Taliban termed it as the breaking of the deal. Their stance is no participation in any conference until all foreign forces leave Afghanistan.
Pakistan Stance on the Issue:
Pakistan is not in favour of supporting the military capture of Afghanistan by the Taliban. “This is our stance in principle,” said Qureshi.
Opposition parliamentarians questioned for clarification on providing military bases to US troops. So that, the US keeps its footprint in Pakistan.
US-Afghan Withdrawal Expected Earlier: Qureshi clarified to the participants that Pakistan would not make any deal with the US that will allow it to carry out counterterrorism from Pakistani soil.
The FM stressed that the US had not asked for any such arrangements from Pakistan. “The US is keen on maintaining a military presence in the Central Asian states bordering Afghanistan,” Qureshi was quoted as saying by another participant.
After the US drawdown from Afghanistan, there are assumptions that the US will try to maintain its footprint in the region to counter any possible revival of the Afghan Taliban regime in Afghanistan.