A high level discussion took place between Pakistan Military and General John Nicholson, Resolute Support Mission commander with James Mattis, retired US general and Secretary of Defense appointed by Donald Trump.
In this meeting, Pakistan Army raised concern regarding the advancement of Islamic State (IS) and Taliban in Afghanistan. If US along with UK fails to stop the advancement, it can prompt Russia to stage an intervention on the grounds of protecting Central Asia, which she claims as her ‘backyard’ as US is already losing control after drawing out soldiers from the country.
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General Nicholson made a statement last month in which he admitted that Afghan forces have reached a stalemate against the Taliban. It was reported that this was an optimistic assessment by Gen Nicholson.
Further, he said: “A stalemate is still a win for the Taliban… We have told Gen Mattis that Afghanistan is slipping out of control, and that if things are not put right, America will have a huge crisis on its hands. “Da’ish is also developing there, and if they leave Syria and Iraq, the next place for them to gather in is Afghanistan.”
In addition, Kabul government has been accused by Pakistan for not putting in enough effort in sealing its borders, which is the area from where militants are conducting their attacks, both on Pakistani and Afghan land. On the other hand, Islamabad has confessed that Kabul has limited capability and Army.
Afghanistan has a total of 350,000 troops in its army out of which only 20,000 are combat ready. Moreover, the appointment of general was bestowed to Afghan generals on the basis of their ‘Tribal affiliations’ than merit.
The summit held in Moscow, Russia, suggested talks with Taliban asserting that they can be used to fight against the IS. Russia views ISIS as a tool for destabilization of the region by the West, which it can further use for its “plot to destabilize its backyard”. For this reason, US was not invited to the summit.
However, US considers this move by Russia as means to build proxy assets in Afghanistan.