Gorbachev urges US pullout from Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, Nov 8: Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on Sunday advised the United States against sending additional troops to Afghanistan, instead urging renewed diplomacy and ultimately a complete withdrawal of US forces.

“I think that what’s needed is not additional forces,” Gorbachev told CNN, adding that “withdrawal from Afghanistan should be the goal.” Gorbachev, the Soviet Union’s last leader, who governed from 1985 until its break-up in 1991, presided over the pullout of Soviet troops from Afghanistan.

Although the Soviet occupation in Afghanistan has been viewed by many historians as a defeat for Soviet imperialism, Gorbachev urged the United States to follow his country’s model, as Washington mulls the way forward in violence-ridden Afghanistan.

He told CNN that Washington should focus on “dialogue” in Afghanistan to bring to an end “the long suffering of that people.” The Soviet leader said that his government also mulled increasing troops during its occupation of Afghanistan, but ultimately decided against it.

“This is something we discussed too, years ago. But we decided not to do it. I think that our experience deserves attention,” Gorbachev said.

Instead, he said, “we decided to emphasise the domestic developments in Afghanistan, national reconciliation,” Gorbachev told CNN.—AFP


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