Is There an End to the Afghan Conflict?
In recent months, Trump’s hesitations about Washington’s strategy for Afghanistan governed by the skeptical attitude towards the Afghan conflict that Trump has been showing since the days of his election campaign have quite frankly disappointed the Pentagon, while provoking a massive confusion in Kabul that resulted in an internal struggle within the Ghani administration.
However, the absence of any desire to carry on the 16 years long conflict that resulted in the demise of 2,400 American servicemen and drained more than 1 trillion dollars of taxpayers’ money suddenly gone missing after the meeting Donald Trump held in mid-July with Michael Silver, the CEO of American Elements, that is engaged in high-tech production of metals and chemicals. Silver was able to affect the position that Trump occupied on the future of US military presence in Afghanistan by proving that by mining copper, iron and rare metal reserves in Afghanistan, the total estimated value of which exceeds 1 trillion dollars, Washington can achieve an incredible economic growth.
The adoption of the new strategy on Afghanistan has also been affected by the ideas that have been lobbied by Eric Prince, the founder of the notorious private security company Blackwater that bears a new name today – Academi. It’s not a secret that the Afghan war took an abrupt turn the moment American troops were replaced by mercenaries, that would carry out the majority of all missions. Prince’s plan states that Washington must deploy another 5,500 mercenaries to work directly with Afghan forces since, he argues, this will be cheaper and way more cost-efficient than using regular forces.
On August 21, President Trump revealed a revised concept of the American war in Afghanistan, although he did not go into much details about his new policies, without specifying how many additional troops would be deployed and what goals this increase was going to pursue. However, as members of Congress would note with a special reference to the Trump administration, in addition to the 8,500 US servicemen currently deployed in the region, another four thousand men are going to be sent there in the near future.
Trump stressed that he does not give Afghan authorities any room for maneuver, noting that America will work with Afghan authorities until the moment it’s going to see any “progress”.
Trump has also made a formal appeal to the Pakistani authorities, saying that the US will not continue tolerating this country serving as a safe heaven for terrorists. In an ultimatum form, he warned that Islamabad would have something to lose if it does not cooperate with Washington, adding that the US wasted billions and billions of dollars on Pakistan, while it continues hiding the very terrorists America is after.
American politicians, the media, NATO and the largest players in the region have already provided a reaction to the new US strategy in Afghanistan and Central Asia, presented by President Donald Trump.
Leaders of the Taliban terrorist group announced that they don’t find anything new in the plans of Washington to increase its military presence in Afghanistan. The group has also threatened US soldiers with new attacks. “Instead of continuing the war in Afghanistan, Americans should think about withdrawing their soldiers from Afghanistan,” said Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, as Reuters reports.
Trump’s decision to get America drawn even further into the abyss of her longest war, instead of withdrawing from it, has been the most significant shift in his position on Afghanistan since his inauguration, argues the Washington Post. By this he demonstrated his new willingness to take responsibility for the long conflict, which he would often refer to as a waste of time and resources. As presidential candidate, Trump condemned American actions in Afghanistan, calling them a “total catastrophe,” and complained that this costly conflict in the center of Asia takes up huge resources at a time when US taxpayers face more urgent challenges.
The Foreign Policy notes that Trump hopes to compensate the losses that the US suffered in the course of this war, especially given the information he has gained about the considerable wealth of the country’s natural resources, undoubtedly hoping to gain control over the development of these minerals once the military victory in Afghanistan is achieved.
However, as the New York Times argues, Trump’s plan will not grant him an unconditional victory.
Washington is going to face an “indefinite war” in Afghanistan, the very place where the US empire will come to an end, said a former Member of the US House of Representatives, Ron Paul. According to this political figure, the more the US gets involved in what is happening, the more often the country will be subjected to new attacks, thus such involvement will bring “less peace” to the US itself.
The leader of the British Labor Party, Jeremy Corbin, has already urged Britain to oppose the US strategy in Afghanistan. Corbin believes that the war in Afghanistan is a failure where after 16 years of bloodshed and destruction, the Taliban remain unbeatable. The US policies have led to the constant increase in terrorist threats, Korbin agrues.
Despite the calls of the US President, Germany is not yet going to increase its military contingent in Afghanistan, as it was announced by the German Ministry of Defense.
In any case, the continuation of the war in Afghanistan, proposed by Trump, will continue to be accompanied by new deaths of Americans and European servicemen in Afghanistan that would be sent there to enforce the so-called “new strategy”, along with massive civilian casualties. All this will exacerbate the Afghan conflict and will only strengthen anti-American sentiments across the Central Asian region.
Vladimir Platov, expert specialized on the Middle East region, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.“