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POST TIME: 1 October, 2018 00:00 00 AM
What next in US-Afghan policy?
M Omar Iftikhar

What next in US-Afghan policy?

Afghanistan has been a war-torn nation ever since the United States withdrew its troops from the country in 2012-13. Where the NATO forces had their regular battles against Afghanistan’s military apparatus immediately after the US troops’ withdrawal, the presence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, however, has always changed the equation for the US and its allies. Even though the regime of President Ashraf Ghani promises to bring peace to Afghanistan, the country is still enveloped in disorder. Primarily, this pandemonium stems from the conflicts between the Taliban and the security forces of Afghanistan. Even though former President Barack Obama and current President Donald Trump have had Afghanistan on their to do list, they could not do much despite having an elaborate US-Afghan Strategy. This Afghanistan strategy by the US still remains lacking.

Regional states including China, India, Pakistan, Iran, and Russia are finding it a challenge to remain on the same page as far as reconciling with Afghanistan and creating a regional group or bloc is concerned. Although the United States, Pakistan, and China made some headway when these three nations met under the umbrella of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) in October 2017, the OCG failed to bring to fore any such plan, policy or procedure to address Afghanistan’s many internal and external predicaments.

The United States, however, has been trying its luck to tackle Afghanistan with support from India. However, New Delhi is looking at the bigger picture of solidifying its relations with China and expressing keen views regarding the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

While Washington has tried to deploy intelligence and military power along with economic strength and diplomacy in Afghanistan as part of its strategy to emerge a winner in Afghanistan, this country remains a burden on Washington and on South Asia as Kabul is unable to move forward.

Despite the US terming their military mission in Afghanistan as an “unwinnable war” in 2012-13, Washington has not created a win-win political or military strategy with Kabul since then. In August 2017, the US increased the number of its troops deployed in the country and approved to grant more powers to the US armed forces in Afghanistan, this strategy has yet to bode any effect in the US-Afghanistan relations.

It is imperative for the regional players of South Asia, especially Pakistan, India, Iran, and China along with Russia to create a viable strategy in cohesion with the US policy for Afghanistan to add diplomatic progress in their collective political narrative. Often referred to as the ‘Heart of Asia’, Afghanistan’s regional neighbours have parted ways with the country because of its combustible nature in terms of extremist factions overshadowing its internal affairs.

Daily Times