Kabul: In 2009 when Ismael Mashaal a local TV reporter in Kabul asked Afghan leader Abdulla Abdulla whether he didn't believe that NATO would end the war in Afghanistan at the same point where they started, Abdulla scoffed away the question – and the reporter – asking whether his TV station did not have any other reporter.
Eleven years on, Abdulla now has a sympathetic admission that it was a really good question. Abdulla, who now is Chairman of Afghanistan's High Council of National Reconciliation, on Thursday congratulated the journalist on that question posed 11 years ago, dpa news agency reported.
"Only now did I understand what he meant at the time," admitted Abdullah.
"Wherever you are, I send you my regards: You asked a really good question back then." He said only the timing wasn't right.
Abdulla's recollection comes in the wake of a US decision which has been in the making for the last few weeks. On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden announced that all American troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan before September 11, a move to end the longest war in the history of the country battered - and more importantly - far from being any better off. The only change perhaps is that it is no more America's business to repair nations in turmoil.
"The US will begin our final withdrawal, begin it on May 1 of this year. US troops, as well as forces deployed by our NATO allies and operational partners, will be out of Afghanistan before we mark the 20th anniversary of that heinous attack on September 11."
September 11 is the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that drew the US into war in Afghanistan.
Biden gave the casualty figures too: 2,488 US military personnel were killed, and 20,722 were wounded in this longest war in American history.
NATO also announced on Wednesday a collective withdrawal from Afghanistan.
In Afghanistan however, the news of the US-initiated withdrawal of international troops was received with shock and to some extent disappointment.
According to a poll launched by local broadcaster TOLOnews on Thursday, two-thirds of around 20,000 who took part believed that the unconditional withdrawal would not lead to peace but drag the country into another civil war.
(With IANS inputs)