Speaking in an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Pir Mohammad Molazehi, referring to the crash of a US military aircraft in Afghanistan, noted: The US position in the region is so vulnerable that it is harmed even by the Taliban. In Iraq too, for the first time they were in a position where both the Iraqi parliament approved US military withdrawals and opposition forces regularly fired rockets at the US embassy and military bases.”
America’s Stature in the Region under Question!
“It was the first time that the Revolutionary Guards attacked Ein al-Assad base, a base that is very important for the Americans and the reputation they had in the region has really been called into question,” he said. If we look at the issue from this angle, the pressure for Americans to leave the region has increased. In addition, there are pressures within the US as well.”
At the same time, emphasizing that the US Embassy in Baghdad is the largest embassy in the world, which is staffed by security and military personnel, the Afghan affairs expert added: “It seems the US is unlikely to give in to pressures to evacuate Iraq and Afghanistan. Americans have strategic goals in the region and will remain there even if they have to pull out their troops. They may keep them under the cover of diplomats in these countries.”
Concerning the impact and consequences of the plane crash in Afghanistan on increasing pressure on the Trump administration, he said: “One of the issues that the Trump administration is under pressure for is the status of the US military, and the issue has become much more serious today.”
Trump under Pressure to Pull Troops Out
“The Americans had already planned to reduce their forces in Afghanistan. On the other hand, they were negotiating with the Taliban, and the condition of the Taliban to achieve peace is for the Americans to withdraw their troops. In Iraq, too, the parliament has approved the US troop withdrawal. Taking these events into consideration, it appears that any casualties the Americans may suffer in the region will increase pressure on Mr Trump to make a definitive decision to withdraw US troops.”
Referring to the Taliban’s claim that they had shot down the plane, Molazehi elaborated on the impact of this action on the peace talks with the Taliban and said: “Talks have been going on for a long time, and Mr Zalmai Khalilzad (on behalf of the US) and a representative of the Taliban were supposed to decide a timetable for signing the agreement. But as the Taliban claim, at the last minute, the Americans have put forward new proposals that were not acceptable to the Taliban.
US-Taliban Talks Had Reached an Impasse
“Regardless of this, there is a deadlock in the negotiations, that is the Americans insist that after the agreement between all Afghan groups, the government and the Taliban should negotiate to announce a ceasefire,” he added. The Taliban have not accepted any of these terms.
“The Taliban insists on reducing violence rather than reaching a cease-fire, and concerning negotiations with the current government, they say it is illegal and that they will not negotiate with it. So there has already been a deadlock in the talks, but if the Americans in their investigations find that the Taliban has shot down the plane, the Americans would naturally take a harder stance in the peace talks and it would be harder for the Americans to come to terms with the Taliban.
US Policy toward the Taliban May Change
Molazehi added: “The policy of the Americans may change because, in the current situation, they aim to avoid military conflict. They want American forces to just train Afghan troops and provide logistical facilities for them. If they really do find that the Taliban have downed the plane, it means that they have achieved the technical capabilities to shoot down American planes, something that will be very dangerous for the US.”
He said it may be just like the Stringers the US provided to the Mujahideen who paralyzed the former Soviet air force, the analyst said. It was then that jihad in Afghanistan progressed rapidly. However, there are many discussions about how the plane has been downed.
Noting that the downed plane was very advanced and according to experts it was flying at above 8000 feet, he said there are questions about whether the Taliban really has an anti-aircraft system to hit from such distance!
In addition, if the plane had been hit in the sky it would explode into pieces while the photos released show the Taliban could be right in claiming to have downed the plane as there are undamaged pieces which show the plane was pulled down and then hit the ground rather than being hit by a missile in the sky.