Trump on the path of repeating his predecessor’s mistake

Saturday, 11 March 2017 03:29 Written by  Heart of Asia Read 127 times

While efforts to put an end to the Afghan conflict through military means have failed so far, the US is still insisting to win the war militarily. The US policy towards Afghanistan has largely remained unclear since President Donald Trump has taken up office; however, the recent developments suggest the Trump administration intends to increase its troop level in Afghanistan.  The troop surge was first floated by Gen. John Nicolson, the commander of NATO Resolute Support Mission (RSM) and US troops in Afghanistan, stressing their Afghan mission needed a few thousand more international troops to succeed. Meanwhile, US Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander Army Gen. Joseph Votel has told the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday that the US requires additional troops to break the deadlocked war in Afghanistan. 

 

Former US President Barack Obama had also attempted to contain Afghan conflict through a troop surge, and even increased the level of foreign troops to 150,000 in a small country like Afghanistan, yet their high presence not only could not prove effective, but was also extremely deadly for foreign troops. 

Given the experience of the last decade and a half, foreign troop surge and military action cannot help Afghanistan achieve peace and stability. If the Afghan conflict could have been settled militarily, it would have been when the number of foreign troops was an all-time high in Afghanistan. Therefore, emphasis on military solution of the Afghan dilemma really cannot help improve the situation; it is necessary to seek other alternative solutions. 

In lieu of increasing troops, the United States should utilize its leverage to impel the supporters of Afghan extremists to stop supporting and financing them, and to bring them to the negotiating table with Afghan government. Besides, America should use the funds it spends on the deployment of new US troops to Afghanistan to equip and finance Afghan National Defense and Security Force (ANDSF). Afghanistan can only remain immune from turning into a terror sanctuary when it possesses a strong military force and a powerful government. If the international community, particularly the United States, really wants peace and stability in Afghanistan, it should rather prefer political solution, and increase development aid and political support to Afghanistan than put more boots here.