New US strategy for Afghanistan is ‘dead-end’ – Lavrov
The new US strategy in Afghanistan has no chance for success, as it mainly relies on the use of force, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
“The main emphasis in the new strategy, which was announced by Washington, is made on settlement through use of force,” Lavrov said at a press conference on Thursday. “We believe that it’s a dead-end approach.”
Apart from that, the new strategy allows negotiations with the Taliban without any preconditions, which is also a significant flaw, Lavrov added, saying that it jeopardizes the joint international stance formed in the UN Security Council.
“If I’ve got the new US strategy right, it allows contacts with the Taliban without them fulfilling any conditions at all,” Lavrov said.
“I don’t think that it goes in line with our joint interest to follow the negotiated, coordinated line which is approved by the UN Security Council. But I hope that within the framework of the expert-level contacts we have with our American colleagues, we will be able to clarify this apparent contradiction.”
Lavrov noted that the UN Security Council, with the approval of Afghanistan’s government, ruled to allow the Taliban to enter the negotiation process under conditions that include severing terrorist links, bringing armed resistance to an end, and respecting Afghanistan’s constitution.
“We maintain the contacts with the Taliban exactly in accordance with these criteria, urging them to comply with these UN Security Council demands,” the minister said.
The new US strategy was announced by US President Donald Trump at the Army’s Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall on Monday. Despite saying earlier that he was in favor of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, Trump now seems to be following the approach of his predecessors, promising that the troops “will fight to win.” Ending the 16-year military engagement in the country with a “hasty withdrawal” would only play into the hands of the terrorists, he said.
The US president said that after an “effective military effort, perhaps it will be possible to have a political settlement that includes elements of the Taliban in Afghanistan.” US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson later that Washington stands ready to “support peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban without preconditions.”