Mixed signals - GulfToday

Mixed signals

Mike Pompeo

Mike Pompeo

The US seems to be sending mixed signals on Afghanistan (“It’ll take more than US-Taliban deal to keep radicals away,” Sept. 3, Gulf Today).

While Trump is planning to withdraw troops from the troubled region, he is also threatening to use power ‘the likes of which the United States has never used before’ against the militants should a threat surface. To me it looks like the 18-year war is nowhere nearing an end.

Something is seriously amiss. His abrupt stance on the peace talks with the Taliban and decision to punish them for last week’s bomb attack, followed by the sacking of his controversial national security advisor John Bolton, does not augur well for either the US or Afghanistan.

In fact migrants are rushing to escape the surges in violence, especially after the horrific attack on a wedding in Kabul. Is the Trump administration in its rush to fulfill the election campaign promise, to get US troops out of war zones, risking the prospects of the country returning to normal? A doubt that the author voices by stating that a premature withdrawal could jeopardise both the prosperity of the Afghan people and open the potential for the country to turn once again into a haven for international terrorism.

America has already paid a hefty price in this long drawn conflict. The war has killed 2,400 Americans draining $2 trillion in the process. So a truce with the Taliban is a bitter pill for the US to swallow. But the only workable way out is to get the Taliban on board, however painful it is. Negotiating with the so called good elements is not the solution, because they are not the ones causing the atrocities.  And with the rising tensions between Pakistan and India, Afghanistan stands more vulnerable than ever.

Zakir A Mustafa
By email

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