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Taliban may retake Afghan control post US pullout: Gates

IANS  |  Washington 

Former US has said that there is a "real risk" that if American troops are pulled out of Afghanistan, the might retake control of the country.

The administration should ensure that the is stable before bringing American forces home, Gates told There are currently 12,000 US service members stationed in the war-torn country.

"I think that the circumstances under which you bring them home matter. And I think trying to give the the best possible shot at survival is really important for the future of Afghanistan," said Gates, who served as the under former US between 2006 to 2011.

Gates outlined potential consequences of the retaking control of the country, particularly the reduction of women's rights, reported on Saturday.

Under the regime before 2001, strict rules were imposed on women as it is against women attending school or holding jobs.

"So the question is, can you negotiate an arrangement whereby the Taliban agrees to operate under the Afghan Constitution, becomes a part of the political process?" Gates asked.

Asked if the Taliban has interest in joining the government or if it just wants to rule the country itself, Gates said that the Taliban wants to "take over Afghanistan".

"If they agree to any kind of a compromise deal, it's really up to the other Afghans at the end of the day to resist any moves, to get rid of those changes, to go backward, if you will."

His remarks came as the announced it would move $1.5 billion designated for the war in to build a border wall.

The US is currently involved in negotiations with the Taliban to end the 17-year war in Afghanistan, although it has not included the current in those talks.

That exclusion from direct talks has caused a rift in relations between and US The US recently reached an agreement with the Taliban that in exchange for them agreeing not to again harbour terrorists like Al Qaeda, would withdraw its troops from the South Asian country.

It led to accusations that US administration is rushing into a "bad deal" that could leave the US-backed vulnerable.

Khalilzad wrapped up the sixth round of talks with the Taliban last week and said they made "steady but slow progress".

Gates was asked it was reasonable to compare the US involvement in to the war in Vietnam, which ended with the American troops withdrawal and a subsequent communist takeover of the country.

"I think there's a very real risk of that... a repeat of the government that we have supported being unable to sustain itself," he said.

--IANS

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, May 12 2019. 14:26 IST
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