‘More US threats going to create more mayhem, not peace in Afghanistan’
Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) has reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack on a military academy in the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Monday.
The country has suffered a spate of terror attacks lately, with three major incidents in the past week.
After Saturday’s bombing in Kabul, American president Donald Trump has reacted by saying “the United States is committed to a secure Afghanistan that is free from terrorists who would target Americans, our allies and anyone who does not share their wicked ideology.”
RT discussed the situation in Afghanistan with Sultan Mehmood Hali, a former Pakistani air force officer.
“Afghanistan has been ravaged by war, at the same time it has also been left on its own,” he said. At the peak of the troop surge in 2011, there were about 130,000 NATO troops inside Afghanistan, “but they failed to improve the situation,” Hali added.
Now that the number of the US troops is down to about 14,000, and “they have not been able to manage any peace over there, nor they have been able to train or even motivate the Afghan national forces,” Hali says he doesn’t think they can control the situation. In his opinion, it’s only going to get worse unless they bring the Taliban and other groups to the negotiation table.
Speaking further about the US presence in Afghanistan, Hali pointed out that President Trump “has not been able to read the picture clearly, nor has he been able to get a reality check of what is the real problem in Afghanistan.”
In the analyst’s opinion, Trump’s actions – including the dropping of the so-called Mother of All Bombs last year – has so far only managed to “create more enemies” in Afghanistan and cause more “collateral damage.”
Concerning Trump’s recent tweet where “he is threatening that he is going to come down very hard on the Taliban”, Hali said he is afraid that these statements “are not coming from a person who has a full understanding of the gravity of the situation.”
According to Hali, the Taliban control as much as 55 percent of Afghanistan’s territory.
“And with only 14,000 troops and also a number of Afghan national forces, some of whom at times defect, or at times are incompetent; I don’t think they can physically – through their bombs, through their threats – overcome this situation which the allied forces, when they were at their peak failed to do... And more threats are only going to create more mayhem, but it is not going to bring peace into the region,” Hali added.
In Hali’s view, President Trump should revise his new strategy “because it is faulty”.
“Trump has not been a politician, he has not been a Senator, he has not served in the Congress or any other government post ever; I would think that on the campaign trail, he was a little naïve …but he was correct when he said that the US troops need to withdraw from Afghanistan,” he continued.
However, Trump changed his stance “after being sworn in as president, after being briefed by his military and people who have stakes.”
The US, Hali noted, is ruled not solely by the president and there are different forces within the country that have their interests in other countries.
“They have pressurized him, the military has pressurized him [saying] that they cannot withdraw from Afghanistan, instead he made a U-turn and has sent something like 3,000 additional troops to Afghanistan…” he said.
Asked about the Taliban influence in Afghanistan, Hali said that the group want to come to the negotiation table because they “are not people who are coming from outside, they are pure Afghans who think that they are fighting a war for their national causes.”
“Their first demand is that the US forces must withdraw totally. And if Afghanistan is rid of foreign forces, then you see the Taliban will be willing to come and sit down at the table and talk with the elected government or whoever is in power at that particular time,” he said.
“I personally think that the Taliban, since they oppose ISIS, and they do not want any foreign intervention – whether it is in the form of ISIS or it is in the form of US or NATO troops over there, they would be able to negotiate not only with Afghan government but also if they are given a chance to join in the government, they would able to control the menace, whether it is from ISIS or from any other new force or new menace, new Frankenstein which is created by the detractors of peace,” Hali concluded.