Thursday, May 12, 2011

Pakistan: No excuse for US presence in region - Pakistani Journalist

Islamabad, May 11, IRNA -- A renowned Pakistani journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai here Wednesday said death of Osama bin Laden has left no excuse for United States to extend its presence in the region.

Speaking to IRNA the journalist, however, believed that Americans would not leave Afghanistan because defeating Al-Qaeda is not their sole interest in the region.

Rahimullah Yusufzai also endorsed the statement of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who had asked US to promptly end the occupation of regional states.

“Following the death of Osama bin Laden, it seems that the US is disappointed with the continuation of its activities in the region,” said President Ahmadinejad in a meeting with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai on the sidelines of the fourth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in Istanbul, Turkey, on Monday.

Rahimullah Yusufzai was of the view that Americans came in the region in 2001 with an objective to defeat Al-Qaeda. “After the killing of Osama bin Laden they must immediately withdraw their forces from the region”, he said.

He said that according to American claims only 50 people of Al-Qaeda are left so why they are extending their stay in the region.

He stated according to Afghan President Hamid Karzai Americans are demanding permanent bases in Afghanistan beyond the 2014 withdrawal deadline.

“There will be a symbolic withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan in July 2011”, he said.
Rahimullah Yusufzai added if an agreement is reached on permanent bases, US troops will remain on Afghan soil beyond the planned transfer of security responsibilities by the end of 2014.

The journalist said that people of Afghanistan and Pakistan doubt American strategies in the region. “They are resisting Americans in every possible way”, he said.

He said that Americans have established governments of their own choices in the region but failed to get their objective.

Rahimullah Yusufzai opined that there is a difference between U.S. authorities regarding their presence in Afghanistan after Osama bin Laden.

“But I still believe that they will not leave the region rather there would be a symbolic withdrawal”, he viewed.

Rahimullah Yusufzai is the Resident/Executive Editor of the Jang group's “The NEWS international' at Peshawar Bureau. He is one of the few bona fide experts on Afghanistan, having reported on the country since the 1980s.