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NATO Officials Optimistic About Post-Withdrawal Afghanistan

U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Dexter S. Saulisbury(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Two years from now, most coalition troops led by the U.S. are expected to be out of Afghanistan.

While that's what the Afghans want, Russia and India have expressed concerns that the country will quickly descend into a civil war that will essentially undo what will have been a 13-year-old coalition effort to stabilize Afghanistan.

Yet, Simon Gass, NATO's senior civilian representative, believes those fears are unfounded and that while there may be problems initially, Afghanistan will be much better off than when the country was ruled by the Taliban from the mid-1990s until late 2001.

Gass explained on Monday that one reason why civil war won't erupt "is because Afghanistan's neighbors realize the huge amount of problems that they would face if Afghanistan were tipped into a position of constant conflict and chaos."

Simply put, Pakistan, Iran and other countries don't want millions of Afghans streaming into countries to escape violence.

Gass also believes that Afghans have long memories and want to avoid the horror "of returning to the dark years, '92 and '93, when the civil war was raging and shells were falling on Kabul."

The NATO official also contends that Afghan security forces are strong now and can repel attempts by Taliban to undermine the government.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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