Afghan Taliban Likens US Exit Strategy to Vietnam

The Taliban likened the impending withdrawal of US-led foreign troops to the end of the Vietnam war.

Rachel Hirshfeld ,

Afghan policemen and a NATO soldier
Afghan policemen and a NATO soldier

The Taliban on Wednesday issued an end-of-year review that compared the impending withdrawal of US-led foreign troops from Afghanistan to American’s pullout from Vietnam, calling it a “declare victory and run” strategy.

The insurgents' emailed statement, entitled a "Quick glance at 2012", said coalition forces had "completely lost their will to fight and practically began the process of withdrawal and retreat," AFP reported.

"When America faced utter destruction in Vietnam, they came up with the formula 'Declare victory and run' and want to utilize the formula of 'Transfer security and run' here in Afghanistan," the Taliban said in the statement.

"In reality, they want to flee from Afghanistan just as they turned tail and ran from Vietnam," it added.

The NATO coalition, fighting an 11-year Taliban insurgency, reduced troop numbers by about 30,000 in 2012 and is due to end its combat mission in 2014.

The 100,000 international forces still in Afghanistan are training a national army and police to ensure the country’s stability, while the Afghan government has appointed negotiators to open peace talks with the Taliban.

Coalition leaders say that Afghans now take on about 75 percent of military responsibilities, though the United States is in talks over leaving a small force behind after 2014.

President Hamid Karzai said this week that Afghan security forces will take the lead in areas covering nearly 90 percent of the population under the latest transfer of security due in the coming months.

Analysts have warned the country risks plunging into a large-scale civil war after the NATO force departs.