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The Reaction In Afghanistan To Trump's Troop Withdrawal

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

And now to Afghanistan and America's longest-running war there. We're joined now by Najib Sharifi. He's a policy analyst in Kabul at Afghanistan Analysis and Awareness, a think tank based in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Thank you for joining us.

NAJIB SHARIFI: Thank you for having me, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: How are people in Afghanistan reacting to President Trump's decision to withdraw thousands of American troops from that country?

SHARIFI: Not only did it catch people by surprise, but the fact that the president was not consulted or even notified about this - that was extremely shocking and, at the same time, very concerning to the people here in Afghanistan.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I mean, that's one of the things that's really gotten a lot of attention - that President Trump didn't seem to consult with any of the allies before he made this decision. The Americans are currently there helping to train Afghan forces. How does this affect them?

SHARIFI: The American force is not here for training. They actually take part in the battlefield, as well. They assist and support the Afghan troops in missions, particularly in specialized missions like night raids and stuff. So it will have an effect on that, as well. And, more importantly, it's the psychological impact that is going to be the most - the greatest impacts of such hasty and rapid and, you know, unconsulted withdrawal of such large scale.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I have to ask - there has been a lot of opposition to the war in Afghanistan, here in the United States in some quarters, and it can - and many, obviously, there might feel that it is time after 17 years for the United States to withdraw.

SHARIFI: Yeah. I mean, we - in Afghanistan, we do not expect the U.S. to stay here forever. You know, we understand that, one day, they will leave, and, you know, the responsibility of defending this nation is primarily a responsibility of Afghans. But the main question is that if this exit does not take place in a responsible and well-calculated way, it will lead to catastrophe here in Afghanistan. Not only it will, you know, make us lose the shared achievements that Afghanistan has had in the past 17 years - in terms of democratic values, in terms of women's rights, in terms of education, in terms of human rights - but it will also - you know, because many believe this will lead to civil war. It will create extensive humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Najib Sharifi works at Afghanistan Analysis and Awareness, a think tank based in Kabul, Afghanistan. He joined us via Skype. Thank you so much.

SHARIFI: Thank you for having me.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE BAD PLUS' "GOLD PRISMS INCORPORATED") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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