Kabul, Nov 18 (ANI): Afghanistan could experience "eye-watering" levels of violence following the withdrawal of foreign combat troops in four years' time, as a "residual insurgency" is likely to continue in many parts of the country, the NATO representative in Kabul has warned.
Mark Sedwill, the civilian counterpart to US commander General David Petraeus, also said that the target of handing over security responsibilities to the Afghan army and police by the end of 2014 might not be met, The Guardian reported.
Though many European countries that contribute troops see the plan as their ticket out of an unpopular war, Sedwill warned that success was not guaranteed and the 2014 date was merely an "inflection point" in a campaign that would continue for a long time. In some areas of the country, transition could run "to 2015 and beyond" he said.
Although the alliance hopes that foreign-led counterinsurgency operations will come to an end, troops would still be required to train and support the Afghan security forces and maintain "a strategic over watch" position, he said, conceding that a "residual insurgency" was likely to continue in many parts of Afghanistan.
"There would still be a certain level of violence and probably levels of violence that by western standards will be pretty eye-watering," Sedwill said.
He noted that in such a scenario, special forces units would be required to remain and fight in addition to the logistical support, training and equipment provided to Afghan units.
Sedwill said that with so many uncertainties, NATO's 2014 deadline was "realistic but not guaranteed".
He also warned that the transition was "not a cheap option" that would allow troops to leave quickly, saying, "We are not looking at forces flooding out of this country as transition starts. One of the key principles of this is you reinvest the transition dividend."
NATO is refusing to announce where the transition process will start for fear of turning those districts into targets for insurgents to increase their operations and mount intimidation campaigns against government officials. (ANI)