March 21 2018

Khalilzad Says Trump Deserves High Marks For New Strategy

March 21 2018, 12:41 | Van Peters

U.S. Army General John Nicholson, Commander of Resolute Support forces and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, speaks about the U.S. new strategy for Afghanistan during a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan August 24, 2017.

Pakistan on Thursday reiterated its support "to the people of Kashmir" in the background of United States blacklisting Hizbul Mujahideen as "global terrorist organisation" and Syed Salahuddin as "global terrorist".

While announcing America's new Afghanistan and South Asia policy - which calls for greater U.S. troop deployment and Indian involvement in Afghanistan - Trump had hit out at Pakistan for offering sanctuaries to "agents of chaos".

"China is, at the moment, supporting and helping Pakistan's economic development and neutralizing part of the American argument" pressuring Islamabad, said Hasan Askari Rizvi, a political analyst based in Lahore.

A Trump administration official said the Pentagon will send an estimated 4,000 additional American forces to Afghanistan, a plan reminiscent of the Iraq "surge" ordered by President George W. Bush and successfully led by Gen. David Petraeus.

US State Department spokesman Heather Nauert said in a press briefing that Tillerson provided an overview of Trump's South Asia policy in the phone call and focused on Afghanistan and Pakistan policy. India should expect some military escalation in Afghanistan, perhaps even some withholding of aid to Pakistan, but the Chinese will hold the Pakistanis' hand and help them negotiate the moment of crisis.

Islamabad has also been under global pressure to try and bring the Taliban leaders, based in Pakistan's restive southwestern region since their rule in Afghanistan was overthrown in the 2001 US invasion, into some form of negotiations with Kabul. After all, Trump has said something about Pakistan in public that his predecessors were not willing to.

In Afghan war the 2200 American soldiers were killed.

"We should not hedge by issuing jargon-filled statements that call for additional hearings, a better strategy, or more careful review".

"We support the new USA strategy that committs to support the AFG people, continue to support ANDSF and speaking loud and clear about Pakistan'ss deceiving strategy supporting terrorist groups and offering them safe heavens".

So on paper, Trump's strategy makes sense. "At the same time, they are housing the very terrorists we are fighting ... that must change immediately", Trump added.

Afghanistan has got one more shot at getting things right. After Pakistan was heckled by Mr Trump, China rose in Pak's defence stating Pakistan's role in Afghanistan must be "valued" and its sovereignty "respected". At the same time, Pakistan's government stressed it doesn't want to alienate the US. More special operations, more drones, a change from the previous format of responding to aggression to more aggressive pursuit of terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In fact, Pakistan has been on that course for quite a while, if the growing Pak-Russia and Pak-China cooperations are any indications. I mean, I think what you're hearing from Pakistanis is this idea that greater Indian involvement is inimical to Pakistan's interests.

Frustrated with its regional partner, Trump trained his guns on its long-time ally Pakistan, in hislatest address on USA strategy in Afghanistan earlier this week.

Hua said against the current backdrop, China appreciates Pakistan's efforts in ensuring security for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

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