Seeking a More Aggressive Role in Afghanistan
It had considered their expanded authority for some months as they worked through a strategy review for Afghanistan and their new strategy will focus more on the relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan and terror networks throughout the region.
The review is expected to be presented to the president in early July and released to the public mid-month and once approved, would signify another expansion of US counterterrorism in Afghanistan.
The US Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis is expected to approve the deployment of 4,000 additional troops to Afghanistan with some assigned to the NATO training mission and others assigned to a counter-terror mission. They will reinforce the 8,400 US troops already there.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joe Dunford hinted at the need to fight the Taliban and Haqqani Network and he said: “Pakistan is a key to Afghanistan and its security. (We should) ensure that the Haqqani Network and the Taliban don’t have sanctuary in South Asia and ensure that the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is secure. (We must) also make sure that there is effective political and military relationships between Pakistan and Afghanistan as that is one of the interdependent variables that will allow us to be successful.”
After handing security responsibility over to the Afghans in 2014, American combat mission officially ended and they discontinuing the targeting of the Taliban and Haqqani fighters simply because of their affiliation to the groups. The US military could then only go after remnants of al-Qaeda.
Then the Taliban made steady gains throughout the southern, eastern, and central parts of the country that the Afghan National Security Forces struggled to contain. The US military remained in the country in an ‘advise and assist’ mission, working with the Afghan military and police and providing them some air support.
In mid-2016, the US President agreed to allow the US military to play a larger role in supporting the Afghans from the air, authorizing airstrikes against the Taliban to support an Afghan military offensive.
Towards the end of 2016, he also authorized the military to hunt and target Daesh-Khorasan Province fighters, the Daesh affiliate that ‘coincidently’ appeared in eastern Afghanistan.
It appears that Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan may have to clean up the US-Created mess in Afghanistan as Washington is downsizing its diplomatic efforts there.
Rumors have it that Washington plans to eliminate the post of Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP) that was created in President Obama’s time as it was thought that the conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan were inextricably linked and should be dealt with together.
This change may be a result of the State Department overhaul by the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson in order to implement Donald Trump’s pledge to cut its budget. Rex Tillerson also plans to remove several other posts of special envoys & merge them into a regional bureau.
Henceforth, the Afghanistan and Pakistan region will fall under the Department of South Asia and Central Asia, covering a much larger area and included India.
The State Department is also considering the option of including India as a stakeholder in solving the Afghanistan problem and this is bound to irk Pakistan and further deteriorate already strained US-Pakistan diplomatic relations.
As the US is beefing up its military presence in Afghanistan, the three regional players Pakistan, Russia and China are holding talks to find a peaceful solution for sustainable peace in Afghanistan and the region.
Reports suggest that an Afghan Taliban representative was also attending these meetings and the three countries said that they would be willing to remove the names of certain key Taliban leaders’ names from a UN sanctions list to help strengthen the peace talks with the Afghan Taliban.
They are concerned about the emergence of Daesh in the region (as they should be) and consider it a bigger threat to the stability of the region. The US position on these talks is unclear but the increase of troops in Afghanistan would certainly undermine these peace talks.
Afghanistan has just experienced the deadliest month of Ramadan since the beginning of the US invasion in 2001 and on the eve of Eid-el-Fitr, at least 200 people were killed and 700 others wounded—many of them civilians.
The attack that was not claimed by any group, brought hundreds of demonstrators into the streets to protest against President Ashraf Ghani’s government and the police opened fire, killing at least four of them.
This Story was first published on Islam Times.https://www.sacreddaleel.org/seeking-a-more-aggressive-role-in-afghanistan/Featured (Current Affairs)AfghanistanIt had considered their expanded authority for some months as they worked through a strategy review for Afghanistan and their new strategy will focus more on the relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan and terror networks throughout the region.The review is expected to be presented to the president in early...Daleel News firstname.lastname@example.orgBbp_participantSacred Daleel