US troop surge cannot yield intended results

Monday, 15 May 2017 03:27 Written by  Heart Of Asia Read 104 times

US policy on Afghanistan has once again hit headlines as the Trump administration is busy working to revise it, but its details have not yet been made public. According to American officials, President Donald Trump is due to announce the new policy on Afghanistan at the NATO leaders' summit scheduled for May 25 in Belgium’s capital, Brussels. Although no details have been released so far, troop surge is the main point of discussion of the new policy. 

 

As per the request of the general commander of foreign troops in Afghanistan, the Pentagon proposed that President Trump increase the number of American troops in Afghanistan apparently in a bid to break the gridlocked Afghan conflict, and militarily press the Taliban to show readiness for peace talks with Afghan government. It means the troop surge is still not intended to defeat or eliminate the Taliban, but rather to push them to come to the negotiating table. 

For the same objective, former US president, Barak Obama, also increase the level of American troops in Afghanistan twice, but the goal was not accomplished though the number of US troops was several folds higher than the expected troop surge. Even the number of foreign forces reached 150,000, but the Taliban did not show willingness to enter peace talks with the government. Thus, expecting the repeat of this failed practice for a third time to yield the intended results seems completely useless. The US military presence in Afghanistan for over a decade and a half shows that the Afghan conflict cannot be solved militarily because the militants enjoy strong foreign support and sanctuaries outside Afghanistan. Furthermore, emphasis on military solution leads to increased engagement of foreign troops in battles, thereby causing heavy civilian causalities, a key driver of the Afghan conflict and an important propaganda tool for insurgents. 

Foreign troop surge can only further escalate Afghan conflict, and complicate the peace process because the rebels are intentionally provided with a pretext and means to prolong the war. That way, the Americans will be extending their military presence under the ploy of suppressing the insurgents who, in turn, will be using foreign troop presence as a pretext to continue the war, which perpetuates the Afghan conflict.