Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Monday, December 10th, 2018

Trump’s Strategy in Afghanistan: Working or Not?

When President Trump announced his new Afghanistan and South Asia Strategy, it created many expectations. Afghanistan expected the strategy will put an end to the pro long and catastrophic war here. They expected that 20 U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations that were active in Afghanistan and Pakistan, would not have more safe haven to agent chaos, violence and terror in Afghanistan and the region. Afghans wanted those who slaughter innocent people be suppressed and have no chance to further slaughter them. Also. We hoped that the United States and its allies could break the will of the terrorist groups, dry up their recruitment, keep them from crossing Afghan borders and defeat them in a way not to be considered as a threat anymore to Afghanistan and other countries.
Now, after more than a year of unveiling this strategy there are two scenarios about it:
First Scenario, Trumps strategy is failing and the terrorist groups, especially Taliban is winning.
Based on this scenario, there is no clear military victory in sight in the Afghan war. Instead, insurgency and terrorist attacks are metastasizing, giving ISIS a foothold, and the Afghan government is crippling with wide spread corruption, weak security institutions and nearing another round of chaotic elections that risks undermining its legitimacy.
Military experts say that almost unpublicized change has happened in the US policy over the past months and the direct talk of the US-Taliban is the clearest symptom of this US policy Change in Afghanistan. In addition to this, according to the US military figures the Afghan government control about two-thirds of the population, a figure that has barely changed in the past year, despite an Afghan government goal of it rising to 80% by the end of 2019.
Now the terrorist groups, including The Taliban are in their most radical incarnation for years. The al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network has been given the number two military position in the Taliban hierarchy. And ISIS is one of the major terrorist groups in Afghanistan that is present in different parts of the country and is pushing a sectarian war with specific targeting Hazara Shias of Afghanistan.
Second Scenario: Trump’s Strategy is Working  
The supporters of this scenario hold that the Trump administration’s strategy of maintaining an active U.S. military role, while setting conditions rather than timelines for success in the war against Taliban insurgents, “has been successful.” They point to the first ceasefire between the Afghan government and The Taliban during the Eidul Fitr. And the truce was observed peacefully by the Taliban for three days, sparking nationwide hopes for progress in settling the 17-year war. The United States and international community have wowed to support peace process initiated by Ghani.  In another bold move, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced a ceasefire with Taliban insurgents to mark the Muslim Eid al, Adha holiday, and in a surprised move Taliban sources said their leaders had also provisionally agreed a four-day truce during the annual Islamic feast of sacrifice. These two truce with the Afghan insurgent groups are very unique developments in the Afghan peace process and the US war on terror in Afghanistan. Some peace experts hold that this is the beginning of a peace deal in Afghanistan. However, this process is faced with numerous challenges including the future role of U.S. troops in Afghanistan which is a key Taliban demand for holding talks and they have repeatedly reiterated the removal of all foreign troops from here. Thus, as the United States and the Taliban are in direct peace talks, it is likely that the Afghan government reaches a peace deal with the Taliban and the insurgent group accepts the presence of the US troops in the country under the pressure of its strategic allies.