Home South Asia Afghanistan Trump’s military-centered strategies undermines every opportunity of peace-building in Afghanistan

Trump’s military-centered strategies undermines every opportunity of peace-building in Afghanistan

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Hidayatullah Sherzad |

Following a wave of late barbaric and heinous attacks claimed by the Taliban in Afghanistan, US President Donald Trump made it clear that he was not open to any negotiations with fundamentalist groups particularly, with the Taliban, in spite of U.S. promises to participate in future talks. “We’ll also discuss what more we can do to defeat the Taliban,” Trump said later on Monday 29, January 2017 at an organized luncheon with members of the United Nations Security Council.

In any case, Trump’s words appear to undermine past U.S. way of conversing with Taliban which included negotiations. Trump’s threats to increase fighting against terrorists came after the recent fatal attacks by the Taliban carried out in Kabul including the Saturday 27 January 2017 attack. Where a rescue vehicle fixed with explosives exploded on a bustling road in Kabul which  killed more than 100 citizens and injured more than 235.

One may feel that following 16 years, the US ought to have discovered that the Taliban can’t be countered by the only military centered tactics where the only solution rests on a genuine negotiated agreement with the Taliban at any cost afforded.

Countering Trump’s earlier remarks, Taliban said, “The true authority of war and peace is not with the Kabul regime, but with the American invaders,” said Taliban. “Their main strategy is to continue war and occupation,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesperson said in a statement to Reuters.

A representative of the Afghan President Muhammad Ashraf Ghani, later on, supported Trump’s decision to dismissing conversations with agitators. Shah Hussain Murtazawi disclosed to Voice of America that the Afghan government will now utilize every accessible means to prevent the Taliban from directing terror assaults. “The Taliban have crossed a red line and lost the opportunity for peace. We have to look for peace on the battlefield. They have to be marginalized,” Murtazawi pledged.

Read more: Afghanistan: Trump & his Generals playing “double game”?

All this happened at the time, when the US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis stated on September 18, 2017, that the US will send around 3,000 troops to Afghanistan with an objective to win America’s 16-year war in Afghanistan, which is  the longest in US history, following the assertion of President Trump’s new strategy on Afghanistan prior on August 21st, 2017. It also seems to be a reversal for President Trump, who entered office promising to limit America’s involvement in global conflicts.

If not, the negligence of peace negotiations with Taliban and moving with the military might against them would further deteriorate the security situation in Afghanistan by paving the way to encourage the insurgents in more relying on their alien supporters for proxies.

They will add around 11,000 US troops to the serving troops in Afghanistan, bringing the aggregate to no less than 14,000. These new troops will help the Afghan forces in their push to overcome the almost 20 militant groups in the country particularly the Taliban, ISIS, and al-Qaeda. However, the cost of the consistent war strategies in the absence of sincere peace negotiation from either side including the Taliban has brought nothing but a continuous bloodshed in Afghanistan.

The Quarterly SIGAR (Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction) report for the last quarter of 2017 states that in spite of $8.7 billion American dollars spent on counternarcotics efforts in Afghanistan; opium generation and the aggregate land under opium development are up 87% and 63% respectively from the earlier year which seems to be a major financial source for Taliban guerrillas.

Read more: the illegality of Trump’s ‘Afghanistan war’

The report states that there has been an increase of 4,474 regular citizen casualties from June 1 to November 27, 2017, a 13% expansion with contrast to the similar period a year ago. From January 1 to November 26, 2017, there was 11 U.S. military workforce was killed in Afghanistan and 99 were injured. This is double the personnel killed in action compared to the same periods in 2015 and 2016.

The revealed dispatch of an extra 3,000 American troops as suggested by his security heads will largely prevent the aggregate fall of Afghanistan and upset the Taliban from winning.

In its yearly review, the Asia Foundation survey found that only half of the Afghan respondents (52.3%) trusted that compromise with the Taliban is likely. Moreover, around 15.7% of respondents communicated either “a ton” or “a bit” sympathy for the Taliban.

On the other hand, the recent BBC report has newly discovered that those Taliban warriors, whom US-drove powers burned through billions of dollars attempting to vanquish, are currently controlling 70% of Afghanistan. The BBC report demonstrates that the Taliban are currently in full control of 14 districts (that is 4% of the country) and have an active and open physical presence in a further 263 (66%), significantly higher than prior approximations of Taliban strength.

Read more: Trump slams Pakistan; calls upon India to help in Afghanistan

Around 15 million individuals, a large portion of the populace is living in regions that are either controlled by the Taliban or where the Taliban are straightforwardly present endangering the security by consistently mounted assaults.

These new administration individuals will help Afghan forces in their push to overcome the almost 20 militant groups in the country particularly the Taliban, ISIS, and al-Qaeda.

President Trump’s dismissal of negotiations with Taliban following his new only military-centered Afghan strategy; that is meant to apparently win the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, maybe another one destined to fail, as likewise Bush’s and Obama’s did before him. The dispatch of an extra 3,000 American troops as suggested by his security heads will largely prevent the aggregate fall of Afghanistan and upset the Taliban from winning. However, no significant change in the status quo seems likely to happen whereas the intensification of the ongoing insurgencies is unfortunately expected to increase in the future.

One may feel that following 16 years, the US ought to have discovered that the Taliban can’t be countered by the only military centered tactics where the only solution rests on a genuine negotiated agreement with the Taliban at any cost afforded. If not, the negligence of peace negotiations with Taliban and moving with the military might against them would further deteriorate the security situation in Afghanistan by paving the way to encourage the insurgents in more relying on their alien supporters for proxies.

Hidayatullah Sherzad is a Ph.D. scholar of International Relations currently serving as a Political Officer at the Embassy of Afghanistan in Islamabad. Mr. Sherzad is the member of Pakistan-Afghanistan Youth Dialogue series at Afghan Studies Center an initiative of Islamabad-based Security think tank, Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS). He tweets at @hidayatullahszd. The views expressed in this article are authors own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space. 


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