‘None of US goals in Afghanistan have anything to do with improving people’s lives’
US Defense Secretary James Mattis announced that over 3,000 extra troops will be sent to Afghanistan in line with President Donald Trump's new strategy. The deployment will bring the US presence to around 14,000 troops.
Unveiling the plan in August, Trump asked other NATO members to increase their financial and military contributions to the war effort.
RT: What impact do you think these extra troops will have on the situation in Afghanistan?
Sara Flounders: Absolutely no impact at all. The numbers have gone up to 100,000 and beyond. They’ve gone down there has been one surge, and then a pullback, and another surge. There are twice as many contractors as officially counted US troops. Then there are lots of other mercenaries and unofficial troops – and none of it makes any difference at all…This is another small surge with no end in sight – with not even the possibility of a plan in sight, except the massive continued destruction for the people of Afghanistan.
RT: What do you think was behind Donald Trump's decision to boost the US military presence in Afghanistan, despite previously promising to do the opposite?
SF: It’s one way of forestalling an unmitigated disaster. No one wants that on their hands. The generals pressure, and this war as all US wars is endlessly profitable for the military and the oil corporations; for the stationing of bases; for the experimenting and further development of the drones. There are a lot of military purposes, even for an unwinnable, unsustainable war. But none of them have anything to do in any way improving the lives of the people of Afghanistan, or even for the US troops that are sent there…
RT: How do you think people in Afghanistan are going to react to these reinforcements?
SF: I think more and more they will look for ways to get this occupying force off their back, out of their country. And they have seen that there has been no improvement in living conditions, in health conditions, in educational level, in mortality for children, for women. That is what is unmeasured in all of this. Instead of troops surges, if there was a surge in conditions for peoples’ lives that would be a different story, but this is just sending more military troops and saying “we’re going to up the numbers of drones and increase the amount of the equipment on the ground.” It is a criminal policy – it has been from day one when the US thought they could walk in and bragged at the time – take over the whole country without a casualty. And here it is – the longest war in US history…
‘US strategy in Afghanistan not to win the war, but to not lose’
Robert Naiman, policy director, Just Foreign Policy think-tank
RT: Do you think it is a good decision sending 3,000 extra US troops to Afghanistan?
Robert Naiman: No, I don’t think it is a good decision. I think it is very unfortunate that President Trump has reneged on his promise to get out of Afghanistan. He hasn’t explained what 3,000 more US troops can do in Afghanistan that 100,000 US troops didn’t accomplish. It’s been 16 years – we had two different Presidents – be it a Democrat or Republican, Obama’s national security advisor Ben Rhodes said when Trump announced his new strategies, it’s “the same as Obama’s strategy…”
RT: 3,000 troops is not that many. Is this just a cosmetic sort of thing, or what on Earth could one expect them to achieve?
RN: I think the strategy is to not lose. No analyst thinks the US can win the war in Afghanistan. Even though Trump has said “now we’re going to win,” his advisors have said: “No actually the strategy is to not lose.” The strategy is to prevent the Taliban from winning – the strategy is not for the US to win. So they are going to try to fortify Kabul. They are expanding the Green Zone, fortifying the Green Zone. Reportedly they are not going to try to help the Afghan government to retake areas taken by the Taliban – they know they can’t do that. Instead, they are just going to try to defend Kabul.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.