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article imageOp-Ed: Trump has no consistent policy position on Afghanistan

By Ken Hanly     Aug 22, 2019 in Politics
Donald Trump has often said that the US should withdraw from Afghanistan. Although he appears to want to end the war he remains non-committal on the peace plan negotiated with the Taliban saying only that he would see what happens.
Trump constantly critical of US being in Afghanistan
Trump claims that after 18 years the US is not really fighting in Afghanistan but acting as a "ridiculous" police force. He added that 'were not supposed to be a police force"
Trump is quoted as saying: “We’re having good discussions. We’ll see what happens. It’s 18 years. We’re not really fighting. We’re almost a police force over there. We’re not supposed to be a police force."
Trump's position on the peace deal is not clear
Trump criticizes the US presence and talks down any merits of staying for the most part. At the same time he expresses a willingness to keep troops there.
Trump also makes warlike statements with aggressive rhetoric: "As I’ve said, and I’ll say it any number of times — and this is not using nuclear — we could win that war in a week if we wanted to fight it, but I’m not looking to kill 10 million people. I’m not looking to kill 10 million Afghans, because that’s what would have to happen, and I’m not looking to do that.”
Naturally Afghan officials did not react well to Trump's suggested option
Many US troops still remain in Afghanistan
The US still has a significant presence in the 18 year old war against the Taliban. Although the ground combat era ended in 2014 there are still about 14,000 US troops left in the country. They are not so much policeman as trainers but they also provide a great deal of air protection to Afghan-led operations against the Taliban. They also carry out anti-terrorist operations.
Among many in the US military and some US lawmakers there is fear that a US pullout would plunge Afghanistan into a new civil war that could see the Taliban return to power. They believe that this would lead to a return of militants such as Al Qaeda and ISIS that could use the country as a base for international operations including attacks on the US. No doubt Trump administration hawks share this opinion.
However, any peace agreement with the Taliban will require the withdrawal of all foreign troops from the country. If the US wants a peace agreement they will just need to rely on Taliban guarantees that they will keep Al Qaeda and ISIS from establishing a base in Afghanistan.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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