In a sympathetic admission of an earlier mistake, Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council of National Reconciliation, on Thursday congratulated a journalist on a question posed 11 years ago.

The local reporter Ismael Mashaal had asked Abdullah whether he did not believe that NATO would end the war in Afghanistan at the same point where they started, reports dpa news agency.

“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.”

In 2009, Abdullah belittled the journalist for his question, asking if his TV station did not have any other reporter.

He deemed the question nonsense.

Eleven years on, Abdullah said: “He has actually asked a really good question, only the timing wasn’t right.”

On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden has announced that all American troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan before September 11, a move to end the longest war in the country’s history.

“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 said that 2,488 US military personnel were killed, and 20,722 have been 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.

–IANS

ksk/