US election turmoil heightens Afghan uncertainty, but hopefully no more ‘fate by Tweet’

KABUL: A senior Afghan government official said he was relieved that under U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, the process would likely be clearer and less chaotic.

“A Tweet won’t decide the fate of American troops in Afghanistan,” he said.

Taliban militants, fighting to oust the U.S.-backed government in Kabul, this week called on the United States to stick to a February agreement with the Trump administration to withdraw U.S. troops by May, subject to certain security guarantees.

Afghan officials hope some troops will stay beyond May.

Afghan government negotiator Fawzia Koofi agreed the U.S. election, disputed by President Donald Trump, was likely to slow the peace process, but added Biden’s win had given hope that the withdrawal timeline would be based on on-the-ground realities.

“We understand that people close to Joe Biden have a different view about the troop withdrawal,” Koofi told Reuters. “So that will probably give the Afghan government some time to prepare itself because we have been saying an irresponsible withdrawal will (probably) result in the collapse ... of institutions.”

In October, Trump posted a surprise Tweet calling for troops to be home by Christmas, a move welcomed by the Taliban, the same day his national security adviser said troops would number around 2,500 at the start of 2021. - Reuters dy>