The US’s bewilderment over failing to defeat Taliban is evident from Trump’s criticism of NATO countries not allocating enough resources to defence while addressing the statesmen at Brussels summit and his decision to elevate his Islamabad envoy, David Hale, to the position of the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. However, reliance on force will not generate the desired goals as the war in Afghanistan has already entered its seventeenth year with pathetic law and order situation in the country.
Just before the Brussels summit started, suspect Islamic State (IS) militants targeted Jalalabad, the eastern city of Afghanistan. Kabul is still the most vulnerable capital in the world despite the presence of a considerable number of foreign troops. If the capital city cannot be protected then committing more troops to defeat the militants across Afghanistan sounds illogical.
It is true that Pakistan and India can play a constructive role in bringing peace to Afghanistan. The appointment of David Hale as director of South Asia’s policy seems a rational option for he wants normalisation of ties between the two South Asian nuclear neighbours. Moreover, he is one of the few US officials who know the realities on the ground, and he appreciates Pakistan’s sacrifices and decisive role in Afghanistan. However, the appointment of Mr Hale will not help Washington to solve the Afghan conundrum until Washington revisits Trump’s South Asia Policy to overhaul it to win the trust of Islamabad.
However, the report that Washington is planning a strategic review is an assertion of the complications involved in Afghanistan. Despite the aggressive attitude that Trump has shown against militants in Afghanistan, the reinvigorated offensive has not borne any positive outcome for White House. It is about time to realise that Afghanistan is at a crucial stage, with negotiation at a crossroads. The world must not shirk away from its duty to chide Mr Trump for not getting out of the hangover of imperial arrogance.