Lahore, Dec.13 (ANI): Pakistani academicians, journalists and members of various non-government organizations (NGO) have forwarded a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, urging him to change America's strategy in Afghanistan.
According to the Daily Times, they told Obama that the cost of the Afghan war has crossed the 120 billion dollar per year mark for the United States alone, which would be unsustainable in the long run. They also claimed that the situation on the ground in Afghanistan was much worse than in 2009, because the Taliban insurgency had progressed across the country.
Acknowledging Pakistan's active support to the Taliban, the letter from the intelligentsia said Washington would be unrealistic in pursuing a military solution in Afghanistan.
They suggested that it was time to implement an alternative strategy that would allow the US to exit Afghanistan while safeguarding its legitimate security interests.
They said that the Taliban leadership has indicated its willingness to negotiate, and is more favourable for talks now than ever before.
"We're deeply worried about the current course of the war and the lack of credible scenarios for the future. In addition, human losses are increasing. We appeal to you to use the unparalleled resources and influence to achieve that longed-for peace," they said in the letter.
They said that the 2014 deadline to put the Afghan National Army in command of security was not realistic.
Considering the quick disappearance of the state structure at a district level, it was difficult to envision a strong army standing alone without any other state institutions around.
The Taliban, they said is a long-term part of the Afghan political landscape, and there was a need to try and negotiate with them to reach a diplomatic settlement.
They said: "We believe that mediation can help achieve a settlement, which brings peace to Afghanistan, enables the Taliban to become a responsible actor in the Afghan political order, ensures that Afghanistan cannot be used as a base for international terrorism, helps stabilize the region, and provides the basis of an enduring relationship between Afghanistan and the international community."
The letter added: "All the political and diplomatic ingenuity that the US can muster will be required to achieve this positive outcome." (ANI)