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Raviteja asked: Is it right time to move out of Afghanistan in this crucial time for the US?

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  • Vishal Chandra: It is more about the US priorities at various levels as defined by the current administration. After the elimination of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by the American commandoes in Pakistan, it remains to be seen as to how the US deals with the Pakistani establishment in times to come. The prospect of the US further expanding its operations within Pakistan cannot be ruled out even if the NATO starts withdrawing its forces later this year. In my personal opinion, the US is not going to withdraw lock, stock and barrel from the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. Even the process of withdrawal of forces will be a long-drawn affair taking at least four to five years. The pace of American withdrawal will depend also on the ground situation in Afghanistan; threat perceptions among the Western countries; and the preparedness of the Afghan National Security Forces.