‘US policy in Afghanistan: Keep it weak and destabilized’

© Omar Sobhani
Washington needs to present itself as an indispensable Afghan ally, without actually giving enough support to defeat the Taliban. And this they’ve been achieving very successfully, political journalist and writer Dan Glazebrook told RT.

Barack Obama has reportedly approved broadening the role of US troops in Afghanistan, a decision that once again contradicts his promises to end America's war in the country.

Almost ten thousand US troops are still in Afghanistan. The original plan called to withdraw all soldiers except those based in the US embassy by the end of this year.

But under the new extended mission next year 5500 troops will still be stationed in the country.

RT: Why would President Obama keep making promises he can't keep?

Dan Glazebrook: We really have to understand that the key goal of the US in Afghanistan is to keep it weak, destabilized, prevent it from becoming a peaceful stable country at peace with its neighbors. Because if that were to happen, that would mean very likely making agreements with Russia, China. It’s a very important country geostrategically, potentially being a gas supply route and its geographical proximity to Russia, China, India and so on means that the US doesn’t want to risk it becoming a stable, peaceful country. That is the context. I think they’ve kept it destabilized; they’ve kept it at war. The danger with this strategy, the danger of just completely leaving the Afghan government to its fate is that the Afghan government then actually will turn to Russia, China for military support against the Taliban  and they lose all influence whatsoever.

So, I think what we are seeing is that they want to keep terrorism and war on the boil. They need to present themselves as an indispensable ally without actually giving enough support to defeat the Taliban. And this they’ve been achieving very successfully. The thing is they’ve been doing this in Iraq, they’ve been doing this in Afghanistan and also in Nigeria. It’s interesting that in Nigeria they got the balance slightly wrong and actually last year Nigeria got sick and tired of US promise of support in the war against Boko Haram that never materialized and actually kicked out the US military advisors. And they’ve been moving closer to military and security cooperation with Russia and China. So, they don’t want this to happen in Afghanistan. So they need to provide some modicum of support to the Afghan government, but not enough to actually defeat the insurgency. They’ve been doing this very successfully and this is the latest development of that overall strategy.     

RT: Will the next president be able or willing to end US troops' presence in Afghanistan? Do you expect things to change in the policy towards Afghanistan with the new person in the White House?

DG: Not really, because I don’t think US foreign policy is really ultimately decided at core, at root by the president. Personally, I think that there are deeper forces at work in the kind of deep state of the US military and security establishment that do this long-term planning and come up with these strategies. Presidents and Congress can tinker with it a little bit with it here and there but the overall trajectory will not change. I don’t think it generally ever has changed between Democratic and Republican presidents, particularly.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.