Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, September 21st, 2018

Political Twists and Turns in Afghanistan

The escalated insurgency in Afghanistan has triggered a sense of worry at national and international level. With their rights at stake, a large number of Afghan people are deeply disappointed with the status quo. Their pain and sufferings are compounded with the deadly attacks carried out constantly across the country. Further, the US soldiers adopted consultative role following 2014 without a successful mission in terms of “war on terror”.
The withdrawal of US soldiers led to horrible consequence in Afghanistan. For instance, a sense of fear filled the air and many people sought to take refuge to foreign countries so as to escape war and violence. On the other hand, the Taliban insurgents intensified their attacks with stronger morale which led to heavy civilian casualties and takeover of greater parts of the country. As a result, the Taliban forces overran Kunduz city on 28 September 2015, with government forces retreating outside of the city. The capture marked the first time since 2001 that the Taliban had taken control of a major city in Afghanistan.
With the failure of war on terror, the US President Donald Trump is reportedly furious that American troops are not winning the war in Afghanistan and wants to sack their commander Gen John Nicholson. Being “increasing frustrated” with the protracted war in the country, Trump – who “lashed out at his top military advisers” when they described the war as a stalemate – has asked to plan new strategy for winning the war.
In July, US Senator McCain urged Pakistan to confront the Afghan Taliban or face the consequences in a visit to the Pak-Afghan region in July. “We have made it very clear that we expect they [Pakistani officials] will cooperate with us, particularly against the Haqqani network and against terrorist organizations,” he said at a July 4 news briefing in Kabul. “If they don’t change their behavior, maybe we should change our behavior towards Pakistan as a nation.”
Since then, according to a Pakistani newspaper, congress has adopted several measures binding US civil and military assistance to Pakistan to the severing of its alleged links to the Haqqani network. Some of these measures also require Pakistan to prevent militants from using its soil for launching attacks into neighboring countries and to release Dr. Shakil Afridi, who helped the CIA trace Osama bin Laden at a compound in Abbottabad.
The issue of terrorism has been a bone of contention between Afghanistan and Pakistan which had lately drew the attention of the US Congress and led to mistrust between Washington and Islamabad. For example, US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said in July that the Pentagon would not give Pakistan the remainder of a key US military reimbursement fund allotted to the country for 2016.
The Pentagon announced the move to withhold $50 million in “coalition support funds” in a statement Friday, saying it had determined Pakistan had not taken “sufficient action” against the Haqqani network, the Taliban offshoot responsible for numerous attacks on civilians and military targets in neighboring Afghanistan.
However, neither the US policy towards Pakistan nor the Kabul-Islamabad blame game could mitigate insurgency in Afghanistan. Indeed, Pakistan’s sacrifices in combating terrorism is undeniable, but there is a lot to be done. In other words, the sacrifices should bear palpable result and the Taliban’s sanctuaries must be destroyed. After all, all terrorist groups will have to be combated without discrimination since they play deadly role.
Now firing Gen John Nicholson, who has gained much experience in the country, is the next strategy regarding winning the war on terror by Trump’s administration. The question is that will this strategy bear the desired result?
The next question is that is US sure that cutting military reimbursement fund has persuaded Pakistani officials to adapt its plan according to the US demands? If it has, why there is no change observed in the country? In terms of its second strategy, it is believed that changing a general will not mitigate insurgency in Afghanistan. That is to say, the political twists and turns in Afghanistan is too complicated to be resolved simply through firing a general. What if this decision backfires on the terrorist issue?

Trump, who shouted against radical groups during his presidential campaign and promised to eliminate them from the surface of earth, has set foot in a real situation encountering true challenges. He intends to win the war on terror and accomplish this mission. But there is still no hope despite all these facts and the graph of casualties is growing in Afghanistan. His two aforementioned strategies will certainly not win the war, what will be his third strategy for winning the war against the insurgents? Do you mean sending more troops to the country? That, according to political analysts, will be proved futile, too. Any other strategies? The world is looking forward to seeing more effective strategy.