AFP with additional desk reporting |
Approximately 3,000 additional American troops have now been deployed to Afghanistan under President Donald Trump’s revised strategy for the war-torn country, the Pentagon said Thursday, 16 November.
On 21 August, President Donald Trump elucidated in his Fort Myer speech on his new US policy for the region and Afghanistan in which he condemned Pakistan for its ‘insincerity’ in the fight against terrorism whilst simultaneously getting billions of dollars from America.
The Pentagon had previously put the number of US forces in Afghanistan at about 11,000 but Trump in August authorized an increase requested by the commander on the ground, General John Nicholson.
Afghanistan was invaded by the US in 2001 and has become Washington’s longest military intervention since Vietnam War.
“We’ve just completed a force flow into Afghanistan,” Joint Staff Director Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie told Pentagon reporters. “The new number for Afghanistan is now approximately 14,000. Might be a little above that, might be a little below that as we flex according to the mission.”
The extra troops will help train and advise Afghan security forces, who are struggling to beat back a resurgent Taliban. Nicholson has said he needs nearly 16,000 troops overall in Afghanistan, and NATO nations have pledged to help make up the difference.
Aside from additional troops, Trump’s plan also comprises an open-ended US troop presence in Afghanistan, whereas his predecessor Barack Obama had ordered a calendar-based draw-down of American forces. The latter’s policy was extensively criticized for letting the ‘enemy’ know beforehand when the US would be leaving.
The new South Asia policy is a reversion to the troop-surge that happened under Barack Obama in 2010. Experts and scholars on the Afghan war often point out that if 100,000 troops could not alter the battlefield dynamics in 2010, how can 3,000 additional troops turn the tables on the Taliban? The policy was seen as a U-turn by Trump’s supporters since he had during campaign trails promised no nation building and no foreign intervention in other countries.
The idea around which the troop-addition hinges is: cause attrition to the Taliban to an extent where it is forced to come to the negotiating battle. Analysts who study Taliban closely are certain that the very idea is untenable as the Taliban has not only expressed the will but also acted towards inflicting damage to Afghan and U.S. forces.
Nicholson has said he needs nearly 16,000 troops overall in Afghanistan, and NATO nations have pledged to help make up the difference.
In August before the policy was announced the Taliban had written an open letter to Donald Trump “It seems to be a historical mistake on the part of the previous administrations to have dispatched American youth for the slaughter of Afghans. However, as a responsible American president, you need to study the mistakes of your predecessors and prevent death and injury to American forces in Afghanistan.”
Afghanistan was invaded by the US in 2001 and has become Washington’s longest military intervention since Vietnam War. An estimated $100billion has been spent on this engagement.