International

Who’ll Trump the Afghan War ?

Afghan War

In a uni-polar world with multiple conflicts mapping the boundaries of most nation-states, the interference of the country in power in these incidents is only to be expected. With large-scale bombing, air-raids, and even nuclear warfare dancing under the fingertips of President Trump, it is no wonder that fears of him treating the world like a playground abound. For someone who changes his position in the blink of an eye whenever emotions overrule his thinking capabilities, it is difficult to determine a concrete policy decision or trace the perceived results his administration is trying to achieve by studying his choices. The recent US attack on Syrian government-led forces to condemn their chemical warfare is only one example of the sudden turn of events from a non-interventionist and isolationist foreign policy to direct involvement in world affairs, prompting many of his supporters to criticize him as a neo-con.

The Syrian attack was followed by another major offensive conducted by the US forces by dropping the largest non-nuclear bomb, ?the mother of all bombs? on a series of cave and tunnel shelters controlled by the ISIS in Eastern Nangarhar province, Afghanistan. This Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) apparently killed 36 Islamic State fighters, making Afghans feel that the ?heavens were falling?. When Trump had commented on the long history and present of the Afghan war (2001-onwards), he claimed that allowing the US army to stay in Afghanistan was something he ?hated doing?. In what has exposed an absence of the ?tremendous difference? of policy and militarisation as compared to the Obama administration, Trump has expanded on the US?s earlier attitude towards Afghanistan by ensuring greater ?weaponisation?. This attack will have drastic consequences for the Afghan war, Pakistan?s involvement in Afghanistan?s decision making especially with respect to the Taliban, and USA?s treatment of terrorist organisations without an obvious plan of action.

When asked about the Afghan war, General John Nicholson had refused to mention the possibility of victory, instead calling it a ?stalemate where the equilibrium favors the government.? With the rising wave of Islamophobia attacking the West, and the ISIS and sister organisations waging a war against humanity, Afghanistan?s terrorist groups have assumed greater importance. In a country where war is a normal, daily occurrence, multiple foreign players have depleted its human resources and destroyed the state machinery to replace it with what many believe is a puppet regime. The Afghan war has been plagued by inflated rolls, corruption and black-marketing in addition to the massive loss of life, with cases of local commanders stealing America-supplied money and raising invisible soldiers on paper. According to a report mentioned by Andrew J. Bacevich, ?The number of troops fighting alongside ?ghost soldiers? is a fraction of the men required for the fight.? Thus, ?like other large-scale government projects, war now serves as a medium through which favors are bestowed, largess distributed and ambitions satisfied.? US commanders have noted that the Taliban continues to be a resounding force that has been successfully overtaking districts from the US forces. Hence, ?Afghanistan remains in the grip of a resolute insurgency and a kleptocratic, dysfunctional governing elite.?

In terms of this ?very successful mission? that the Trump administration undertook in the name of international security, many loopholes are evident. Even though the Pentagon said that the strike was “designed to minimize the risk to Afghan and U.S. Forces conducting clearing operations in the area while maximizing the destruction of ISIS-K fighters and facilities,” is it justified for the US to assume responsibility for weeding out the ISIS on behalf of the world community, unilaterally? Nevertheless, Nicholson asserted that “This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K.? When did the US become an international decision making body?

Trump?s promise of bombing the ?shit out of ISIS? does not take account of the deaths of innocent civilians. In one such attack, the US forces accidentally killed 18 rebel Syrian fighters (which the US is supporting, by the way). Aimal Faizi notes the nexus between the Pakistan and Afghan Taliban with the ISIS, observing that the US offensive has also been responsible for pushing regional terrorists to join the new international ?brand? name of the Islamic State. Will these attacks not lead to more radicalisation and participation in these terrorist activities, especially in terms of a rebellion against US policies?

Faizi summarizes the scenario, ?The Taliban is also resurgent. One bomb, however big, will not change that dynamic.?

-Contributed by Tript

Picture Credits: thelibertarianrepublic.com



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