Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Trump’s Election as US President and Effects on Afghanistan

The much-hyped United States (US) Presidential Elections ended and Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, was elected America’s 45th president. The election result was unexpected for many because earlier polls had indicated that his rival Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate, might win. However, the things turned in Trump’s way and the people of the United States of America chose him as a better choice. In the process, Trump had to go through many controversies and allegations but kept on his campaign with surprises and hullabaloos.
Now that Trump has been elected as the US president, this will end the Democratic Party’s dominance that lasted for over eight years and there are expectations that there will be certain drastic changes in the outlook of the US politics and the US foreign and national policies. Donald Trump had promised that he would repeal Obama’s healthcare law, retract the nuclear agreement with Iran and rewrite important trade deals with other countries, particularly Mexico and Canada. He had also promised more scrutinized migration laws for Muslims who wanted to go to US for refuge and also hinted towards stricter stand against the extremist group – Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Another important point to consider is that Trump will take the presidential office with a majority in Congress as well. This means he would be more authoritative and there would be less hindrances for him to pursue the policies that he and his team deems right. This also suggests that US and the world would experience unhindered and explicit Republican policies and their understanding of the realities and national and international political scenario.
Donald Trump was congratulated by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and the Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah just hours after he won the election. Ghani said in a statement, “US is an essential and important strategic partner to Afghanistan in development of the country and fighting terrorism… The government of Afghanistan hopes that in close cooperation with the new president of the United States, relations between the two countries expand further and develop in a way that is in the interest of the two countries and nations."
CEO Abdullah Abdullah also extended his congratulations to Trump for becoming the 45th president of the US. He said in his statement, "Afghanistan and the United States are strategic allies and friends. Combating extremism and efforts to bring peace and stability are the top priorities of both countries… With Mr. Trump's victory, the chief executive of Afghanistan expects the strength and expansion of strategic economic, military, social and cultural cooperation between the two countries."
Afghanistan is a country that is going to detect direct impacts of the election results. There are possibilities of changes in the way US policies currently stand towards Afghanistan. As Trump seems more aggressive towards the religious extremism and extremists, there may be more active role of US in Afghanistan against Taliban and ISIS insurgents. This would be helpful for Afghanistan in the sense that currently, there are serious concerns of security and there has been a consistent rise of Taliban insurgents in different provinces, even in the ones that were not previously under their control. An aggressive role of US would support Afghan forces in fighting this growing trends of insecurity and terrorism.
Moreover, currently growing threats from ISIS is becoming a serious concern for Afghanistan. ISIS is aiming at a stronghold in different parts of the country and can never be neglected at this crucial time. Though it is not in ideological agreement with Taliban, it is a matter of concern along with them. Even if it is in a state of fight with Taliban, it cannot be used as a force to defeat Taliban by Afghan officials as doing so would further strengthen it and afterwards it may get out of control and pose threats to Afghan government, its constitution and political system.
An aggressive role towards Taliban and ISIS would also be helpful in compelling the groups to think of the solutions other than militancy. Taliban, in particular, would be more motivated towards a negotiated solution if they start believing that they are pushed towards a weaker position and will ultimately be defeated by the Afghan forces. Currently, Taliban do not pursue a clear and vehement policy for negotiations because they believe that they are moving ahead in their war. They think that their use of force may help them in getting into a position wherein they can have more chances of having their conditions heard and enforced.   
There are hopes that Trump’s election as the US President may prove to be a blessing in disguise for Afghanistan and help the country in facing the serious challenges of insecurity and terrorism that are being raised and invigorated by Taliban and also the notorious extremist group – ISIS.