Friday, November 11, 2016

Uncertain Afghanistan looks to Trump for decisions on troops, aid

With so much riding on American support, Afghanistan is waiting anxiously to see if President-elect Donald Trump matches his maverick image and reverses policy or keeps to a path that has cost billions and committed thousands of troops to propping up a fragile ally.

Much to the private annoyance of officials in Kabul, America's longest war barely featured in the election campaign, but few were expecting the billionaire property developer to beat former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"It's been a complete surprise," said one senior Afghan official closely involved in national security issues. "I think everyone was expecting the opposite result.

"It (Afghanistan) wasn't a priority in the campaign, that's obvious. No one talked about Afghanistan at all. At least with Mrs. Clinton, though, you knew more or less what you were getting."

Afghanistan will nonetheless present the incoming Trump administration with one of its most intractable foreign policy challenges.

The United States has spent some $115 billion in aid for Afghanistan, but 15 years after the hardline Islamist Taliban were toppled after the Sept. 11 attacks, a third of the country is out of government control and security forces are struggling. -  Read More
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