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Trump Releases US Central Asia Policy; Afghanistan, Pakistan in Focus

Tuesday 22 August 2017
Trump Releases US Central Asia Policy; Afghanistan, Pakistan in Focus

Alwaght- Reversing from US longstanding policy of imposing western-style democracy on other nations, President Donald Trump vowed on Monday "We are not asking others to change their way of life".

In a peak time address to the nation the American commander-in-chief said his administration "will no longer use American military might to construct democracies in far away lands, or try to rebuild other countries in our own image – those days are now over. Instead, we will work with allies and partners to protect our shared interests. We are not asking others to change their way of life, but to pursue common goals that allow our children to live better lives.  This Principled Realism will guide our decisions moving forward."  

"We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists," he further said.

In a blatant ignorance of his campaign pledge for a swift withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, Trump said Washington with continue fighting the longest war in the country's history.

"My original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts, but all of my life I heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office," Trump said, adding, "So I studied Afghanistan in great detail and from every conceivable angle. After many meetings, over many months, we held our final meeting last Friday at Camp David, with my cabinet and generals, to complete our strategy," he said.

"Our troops will fight to win," Trump said, claiming victory in Afghanistan would be clearly defined.

He did not provide a number of additional troops that would be sent to the war, though US officials said ahead of the speech they expect him to go along with a Pentagon recommendation for nearly 4,000 new troops.

"We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities," Trump said. "Conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables, will guide our strategy from now on."

There are roughly 8,400 American forces in Afghanistan. At its peak, the US had roughly 100,000 forces there, under the Obama administration in 2010-2011.

Pakistan safe haven for terrorists

Trump also reprimanded Washington's nuclear ally, Pakistan, accusing Islamabad of giving "safe haven to agents of chaos, violence and terror".

“We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond,” Trump said, outlining strategy in South Asia.

"Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists."

“Terrorists who slaughter innocent people will find no glory in this life or the next. They are nothing but thugs, and criminals, and predators, and – that’s right – losers.”

Trump suggested that military and other aid to Washington's nuclear-armed ally is at stake.

"We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting," he said. "That will have to change and that will change immediately."

Trump said the US wanted India to help more with Afghanistan, especially in the areas of economic assistance and development.

Deal with Taliban Plausible

Trump also suggested that a political deal with the Taliban would be possible.

"Someday, after an effective military effort, perhaps it will be possible to have a political settlement that includes elements of the Taliban in Afghanistan," he said.

"But nobody knows if or when that will ever happen," he added.

In a statement, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said: "We stand ready to support peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban without preconditions."

However, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid dismissed Trump's remarks on Afghanistan, saying they were "old" and "unclear," the Associated Press reported.

"Instead of continuing of war in Afghanistan, Americans should have thought about withdrawing their soldiers from Afghanistan," Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement issued hours after Trump's televised speech.

Mujahid said, "as long as there is even one American solder in our country", Taliban fighters would continue their "jihad".

Last week the Taliban released a 1,600-word open letter to the president warning him against a troop surge. They also said that they are not ready for peace talks until the US and NATO give a timeline for troop withdrawal.

 

Tags :

US Trump Foreign Policy Afghanistan Taliban Pakistan

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