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US plan for Afghanistan based on uncertain assumptions

Friday, March 12, 2021

Significance

The plan links a final US troop withdrawal to a new set of talks hosted by Turkey and a ceasefire, and envisages the replacement of President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani's administration with an interim government. The plan aims to secure rapid US disengagement without giving the impression that Washington is abandoning Afghanistan to its fate.

Impacts

  • The US move has taken everyone by surprise, including regional actors who are now scrambling to reposition themselves.
  • Russia was trying to kickstart its own Afghan process and must now to decide whether to cooperate with the US track or go it alone.
  • Ghani may invest in a new round of regional diplomacy to secure support against the US plan.
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