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Asif Haroon Raja |

It took Donald Trump and his team 8 months to formulate Afghan policy, which was hailed by India and Afghan Government but received with concern by Pakistan, China, and Russia. It was a U-turn to what Trump had promised during the election campaign that he will reduce US military engagements in conflict zones, cut down defence budget, revise US-NATO military alliance since in his view NATO was a white elephant and a big drain on the US budget, and lastly, pull out American troops from the longest war in Afghanistan.

The war is not as important as the incapacitation of Pakistan’s nuclear program and CPEC. The CPEC is giving sleepless nights to both USA and India and both are hell-bent to scuttle it at whatever cost

Contrary to his pledge on Afghanistan, he announced that the 16-year war will continue without a timeline and 4000 additional troops will be dispatched to reinforce Resolute Support Group of and ANSF to kill terrorists. The unity government in Kabul was asked to focus on rooting out corruption and fighting the terrorists so as to qualify for financial assistance.

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

At the same time, India was politely reminded to further contribute towards Afghanistan’s economic and political development. His tone changed when he singled out Pakistan for housing terrorists and abetting terrorism in Afghanistan. He cynically stated that Pakistan was providing sanctuaries to the anti-US/Afghan terrorists after receiving billions and billions of dollars from the USA.

Pakistan was subjected to a massive covert war together with hybrid war to disable its nuclear program. Trump has announced an aggressive policy against Pakistan to disrupt CPEC at all cost

It was a highly discriminatory speech in which Pakistan was painted as the villain of peace responsible for the instability in Afghanistan and warned to eliminate all safe havens for terrorists and to stop aiding terrorists immediately or be prepared for the reprisals. No mention of Afghanistan being used as a base for cross border terrorism by RAW-NDS against Pakistan was made.

Nor a thought was given to the fact that with over 50% Afghan territory under the control of Taliban, why would they need sanctuaries in Pakistan? The incompetence of the US-NATO military, ANSF and unity government lived in corruption, poor governance and power tussle, were not mentioned. India playing the spoiler game, and its declared policy of isolating Pakistan internationally and destabilizing it internally as well as its disastrous Kashmir policy and refusal to have a dialogue with Pakistan were not stated.

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

Yemen was subjected to drone attacks to hit Arabian Peninsula Al-Qaeda dispositions and create chaos. Division of Sudan was justified that South Sudan was inhabited by a majority of non-Muslims

The connections of Russia, China, and Iran with the Taliban were not brought to fore. Pakistan’s security concerns were not taken into account that growing presence of India in Afghanistan presented a twin threat to Pakistan. Pakistan’s sacrifices and achievements it made in fighting terrorism as a frontline state were skipped. Trump didn’t deem it fit to recall the repeated betrayals of USA, particularly at a time when Pakistan needed the US assistance the most. The worst was in 1989 when the US after achieving all its objectives through Pakistan, it callously abandoned it, put it under sanctions and embraced Pakistan’s archrival India which was an ardent Soviet camp follower.

The new policy defines the new parameters in unambiguous terms which imply that George Bush policy of ‘Fight and Fight’ will be adopted and Obama’s policy of ‘Fight and Talk’ discarded. Trump advocated the continuation of war indefinitely and ruled out talks with Taliban. He has given unrestricted powers to the US military commanders in Afghanistan.

Read more: The winners and losers in Trump’s Afghan strategy – II

Gaza was repeatedly assaulted by the Israeli military backed by the USA to flush out Hamas. Turbulence was created in Lebanon to weaken Hezbollah that had become a big threat to Israel

As regards Pakistan, blaming it for failures in Afghanistan and ‘Do More Mantra’ are old accusations that have been leveled by USA, Afghanistan, and India collectively since 2004. Not only Pakistan has again been blamed, it is threatened and told to eliminate sanctuaries forthwith. Making India a key player in Afghanistan has been the cherished desire of all the three US Presidents.

The US invented Excuses

Looking back, one finds that the US had always come out with lame excuses to invade a country. It held Osama bin Laden (OBL) led al-Qaida based in Afghanistan responsible for the Twin-Towers and Pentagon attacks on 9/11. Impoverished Afghanistan ruled by Taliban regime was attacked on the plea that Mullah Omar sheltering OBL refused to hand him over to the USA without providing proofs of his complicity.

The real motives were different. Besides the lure of trillions of dollars’ worth untapped mineral resources of Afghanistan, it was ideally located to overview its prospective targets – China, Russia, Central Asia, Pakistan, Iran and the Middle East.

Read more: The Afghan end game – military action or political activism?

Trump advocated the continuation of war indefinitely and ruled out talks with Taliban. He has given unrestricted powers to the US military commanders in Afghanistan

Iraq has attacked under a fake premise that Saddam regime had weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The real motive was oil and to divide the country into ethnic/sectarian lines. Libya was attacked on the pretext that Qaddafi was a dictator. Actual motives were to prevent Qaddafi from introducing separate currency/ banking system and to control Libya’s oil resources. The Civil war was triggered in Syria to get rid of Assad regime since in the US view the Alawite minority regime’s rule over majority Sunni Syrians was illegal. In actuality, Syria’s alignment with Iran, Hezbollah and Russia had troubled Israel and USA and this configuration had to be broken.

The connections of Russia, China, and Iran with the Taliban were not brought to fore. Pakistan’s security concerns were not taken into account that growing presence of India in Afghanistan presented a twin threat to Pakistan

Yemen was subjected to drone attacks to hit Arabian Peninsula Al-Qaeda dispositions and create chaos. Division of Sudan was justified that South Sudan was inhabited by a majority of non-Muslims. The real problem was Sharia (Islamic system). Gaza was repeatedly assaulted by the Israeli military backed by the USA to flush out Hamas. Turbulence was created in Lebanon to weaken Hezbollah that had become a big threat to Israel. Iran was put under four-fold sanctions to force it to roll back its nuclear program. It is now being coerced so as to defang its missile power.

Read more: Pakistan-US ties: A reality check

Pakistan was subjected to a massive covert war together with hybrid war to disable its nuclear program. Trump has announced an aggressive policy against Pakistan to disrupt CPEC at all cost. He is flexing his muscles hoping that like George Bush, he will be able to subdue considerably weakened Pakistan and make it follow his dictates and help the US in winning the lost war. However, winning the war is not as important as the incapacitation of Pakistan’s nuclear program and CPEC. The CPEC is giving sleepless nights to both USA and India and both are hell-bent to scuttle it at whatever cost.

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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