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Asif Haroon Raja |

The US has all along pursued a highly militarized and aggressive foreign policy of intimidation, annexation, and capture of resources of others. In pursuit of its strategic and mercantile interests, it has not even spared its allies. The US has been at war for the last 221 years out of 249 years of its existence but has never won a war in its history. Each and every adventure met with the disgraceful end. Vietnam became its graveyard and now Afghanistan has turned into another graveyard. Another trait of USA is to resort to bullying tactics. It has never grappled with a matching rival but has traditionally threatened and attacked only those countries which are weak and don’t match their military might. Cuba was tolerated because it could retaliate with missiles.

So far, nothing has worked in his favor. Neither the US nor India can afford to wage an open war. The only option is covert war supplemented by hybrid war

After 9/11 the US attacked impoverished, weak and war-torn Afghanistan and used a hammer to kill a mosquito. It took US policy makers more than a year to verify that Iraq didn’t have WMD before going for the kill. Trump is now threatening North Korea but doesn’t have the courage to take an aggressive step since Pyongyang ICBMs can strike the USA and its bases in South Korea and Japan.

Read more: The US failed Afghan policy – Part I

Although the US made Pakistan a coalition partner, a non-NATO ally and a front line state to fight the US imposed war on terror, it was taken on board as a tactical partner for the accomplishment of the US short-term objectives. We were duped into believing that the US will not commit past mistakes and will make amends and we thoughtlessly fell into the trap, trusting that Pakistan will be safe under the wings of USA.

The US military is demoralized and so is NATO and has little heart left to put their boots on the ground in any battle zone. Airpower has failed to give the US any decisive results

The US, puppet regime in Kabul, India, Israel, and the UK are strategic partners with common objectives and security concerns. Pakistan does not fit into the security paradigm of any of the stated countries and will remain an enemy because of it being a Muslim and nuclear country, aligned with China and building CPEC. It is ludicrous to say that the US wants to eliminate terrorism to make the world peaceful since the US is fanning terrorism through paid proxies under a well-planned strategy to foment chaos in target countries and achieve its hidden objectives.

If the US sincerely wants to root out terrorism in Afghanistan and is convinced that terrorism flows out of Pakistan, why does it object to the fencing of the western border by Pakistan? If it can dump $1.3 trillion in the inferno of Afghanistan with zero results, why can’t it dole out $ 10 billion to Pakistan to speedily complete the fencing of the entire stretch of 2400 km border and club the menace once and for all?  Its reluctance is a clear-cut indication that it is least interested in controlling terrorism.

Read more:  Trumpistan! The Trumpeter’s policy on Afghanistan is really their Policy on…

Afghanistan is in use of Indo-US-Afghan nexus as a base of operation to destabilize, denuclearize, de-Islamize and balkanize Pakistan. Indian presence in Afghanistan has posed a twin threat to Pakistan. India will never allow Pakistan-Afghanistan relations to normalize. India has played a role in creating misgivings in Pak-Iran relations and in Pak-GCC relations in its bid to isolate and encircle Pakistan.

It had the capacity to attack both Afghanistan and Pakistan since Pakistan’s nuclear program and missile power in that timeframe were in the infant stage, its relations with China were not as deep-rooted and Pak-Russia relations were strained

The US military lost the initiative to Taliban when it took up a rearward posture in September 2009 owing to debacles in Helmand and Nuristan despite two troop surges, and then finally withdrew in December 2014. Thereafter, the Taliban have been constantly gaining space while the writ of Ashraf Ghani-Abdullah regime is confined to Kabul only.

Whatever objectives laid down for Afghanistan by the invaders have not been accomplished and today the country is in much worse shape than it was in 2001. For all practical purposes, USA has lost the war but doesn’t have the heart to say and is myopically trying to convert defeat into victory. Obama wanted a face saving formula to exit honorably, but couldn’t. If 140,000 strong ISAF couldn’t reverse the tide, sending in 4000 additional troops amounts to reinforcing failure.

Read more: Real US intentions in Afghanistan? Dr. Moeed Pirzada’s podcast with Stimson…

The US was never sincere in peace talks with the Taliban and always played a double game to divide the Taliban and bargain a political settlement with them from a position of strength. July 2015 peace talks at Murree arranged by Pakistan were sabotaged by playing up Mullah Omar’s death controversy. When Mullah Mansour again got inclined to talks, he was drowned in May 2016 to give a deathblow to the peace process. Trump is disinclined to hold talks with Taliban since they are enjoying an upper edge.

Gen John Nicholson assertion that Taliban can’t win the war and should surrender is too simplistic. Stalemate is in the interest of Taliban since time and fatalities are of no consequence to them. Troop surge and use of force would imply more blood flow. The US too can’t win the war and will keep slipping deeper into the quagmire of Afghanistan.

No ban has ever been put on any of the over 100 terrorist groups in India including the BJP which is the political face of notorious RSS busy imposing Hindutva in India

There is virtually no change in the approach of Bush, Obama, and Trump towards Pakistan and India. Former two pursued anti-Pakistan agenda and aspired to make India the main player in Afghanistan and policeman of the region. Trump is doing the same.

In fact, what Trump has said is in continuation to the threat hurled by former Obama administration in early October 2016 in the aftermath of Uri incident that Pakistan should crush HN, Jaish Muhammad (JeM), Lashkar Taiba (LeT) immediately. Gen Nicholson added fuel to fire by alleging that Pakistan has provided sanctuaries to Afghan Taliban in different cities and also mentioning Peshawar and Quetta Shuras. CPEC is unacceptable to US and India since it has the potential to make China the leading economic power and break strategic encirclements of Pakistan and China by India and USA respectively.

Read more: Trump ‘New’ Afghanistan strategy is neither new, nor a strategy

It is highly embarrassing for the US led a coalition of 46 countries to fail in defeating rag-tag Taliban. Brilliant successes achieved by Pakistan in spite of grossly unfavorable environments has sprinkled salt on the wounded pride of US military. The US hides its embarrassment by putting the entire blame on Pakistan. This blame game has lost its potency after the outstanding results achieved by Operation Zarb e Azb followed up by Operation Raddul Fasaad. There is no safe haven for terrorists in Pakistan.

Bush had succeeded in overawing Gen. Musharraf and making him agree to his 7 demands, the ill effects of which this nation is still suffering. Taking advantage of his reckless demeanor, Trump has also tried to coerce Pakistan leadership at a time when it thinks is politically on a slippery ground, and it will readily agree to pick up open fight against Afghan Taliban and Haqqani Network (HN) as well as all other banned militant groups like JeM, LeT, Jamaatud Dawa. Disbandment of Kashmir focused Jihadi groups by Musharraf regime had forced them to join TTP and Pakistan had to suffer the consequences.

Taking advantage of his reckless demeanor, Trump has also tried to coerce Pakistan leadership at a time when it thinks is politically on a slippery ground, and it will readily agree to pick up open fight against Afghan Taliban

No ban has ever been put on any of the over 100 terrorist groups in India including the BJP which is the political face of notorious RSS busy imposing Hindutva in India. Pakistan has been pursuing a policy of appeasement and all its responses have been reactive, apologetic and defensive. We offered our second cheek for a slap instead of contesting ‘do more policy’, intended to bleed Pakistan. This self-destructive policy gave heart to every Tom, Dick, and Harry to whip Pakistan.

Read more: Pakistan’s route to safety: Revision of the Afghan policy

Can Trump Actualize his Threat?

The US was politically, economically, militarily and diplomatically the strongest country of the world when 9/11 occurred. It had the capacity to attack both Afghanistan and Pakistan since Pakistan’s nuclear program and missile power in that timeframe were the n infant stage, its relations with China were not as deep-rooted and Pak-Russia relations were strained. Today, the US is a descending power with melting economy, bruised prestige and is the most hated nation in the Muslim world. Its uni-polarism has given way to multi-polar world.

The US military is demoralized and so is NATO and has little heart left to put their boots on the ground in any battle zone. Airpower has failed to give the US any decisive results. Homefront is restive. Above all, Trump is an unpopular President and a Congressman has filed a reference for his impeachment. So far, nothing has worked in his favor. Neither the US nor India can afford to wage an open war. The only option is covert war supplemented by hybrid war.

The writer is a retired Brig Gen, a war veteran, defense and security analyst, author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre. Takes part in TV talk shows, delivers talks and take part in seminars. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

Asif Haroon Raja is a retired Brig Gen, a war veteran, defense and security analyst, the author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, and Director Measac Research Centre. He takes part in TV talk shows, delivers talks, and takes part in seminars.

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