Trump and his administration never fail to surprise the world. As soon as Trump occupied White House, he was keen on reversing Obama’s policies in Afghanistan. One of the main points of Tump’s “Strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia” was the refusal to hold any dialogue with Taliban. In fact, the strategy advocates for an increase in the number of American troops.
While the world was waiting for Washington to implement its new policy in Afghanistan, the latest developments reveal that Trump administration is doing the opposite of the official stance it maintained on the war on terror as the US is thinking of exploring the possibility of permanent peace in Afghanistan. What is surprising is the willingness the US is showing even to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan if dialogue with Taliban becomes successful.
What is more to the shift in US policy towards Afghanistan is a thaw between Pakistan and America’s relations over peace in Afghanistan. Despite all-time low ties between the two uneasy partners, the US officials deem Pakistan an essential partner for a long-lasting and sustainable peace on Afghan soil.
Therefore, Alice G. Wells, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State will visit Pakistan next week to explore all options for fruitful talks between the Ghani government and the Taliban. It is encouraging to note that the US has comprehended that there is no military solution for Afghan conflict. If there is any chance of ensuring peace in the country and subsequently the entire region is if all parties rely on dialogue.
White House has concluded that Afghan war cannot be won through barrels of guns. All parties need to show sincerity to ensure the success of the possibility of a genuine dialogue. Moreover, Taliban want to lay down one precondition before any peace talks take place with the government in Kabul; US withdrawal from Afghanistan. While Trump and his cabinet will find hard to accept Taliban’s demand, however, there is no other choice left before the Trump administration.
Ms Wells, who is visiting Pakistan next week, is highly supportive of Pak-Afghan talks, initiated after Pakistan’s Army Chief visited Kabul in October 2017. Why does the US consider Pakistan central to peace talks between Ghani government and Taliban? For a long time, Islamabad has maintained that the only solution to Afghan conflict and civil war is reliance on dialogue.