Saturday, January 21, 2017

How Trump will deal with America's longest war is anyone's guess

Trump has minced few words about his plans to  build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and  end the threat from Islamic State extremists. 

But the president-elect has been virtually silent on his plans when it comes to Afghanistan, home to America’s longest war.

With 8,400 U.S. troops leading a 13,000-strong NATO mission in Afghanistan, the incoming administration inherits one of the United States’ most stubborn and complex foreign policy challenges. Although President Obama promised to end U.S. military involvement, American service members continue to be drawn into combat as Afghan security forces struggle to contain aresilient Taliban insurgency.

Afghan officials grew accustomed to being near the top of Obama’s priority list in his first term, when he deployed more than 100,000 troops into the country. Then they became disillusioned when Obama withdrew forces and became more focused on battling Islamic State.

Under Trump — who has vowed to project American might while refraining from military adventures he views as “dumb” — U.S. policy in Afghanistan is anyone’s guess.

Yet even with no military victory in sight, efforts to open peace talks between the Taliban and the Kabul government have failed to gain momentum. A four-nation initiative involving China, Pakistan and the United States has faltered, while plans by Saudi Arabia to host talks have generated little excitement.

Some Afghans blame the Obama administration for failing to put more pressure on Pakistan. The U.S. continues to send Pakistan billions of dollars in military aid, although Congress registered its displeasure over Islamabad’s failure to rein in militant groups by withholding $300 million in funding last year.

The lack of concrete policy statements puts Afghanistan in much the same position it faced when Obama was inaugurated in 2009: in a “forgotten war,” overshadowed by a military campaign in Iraq — this time to dislodge Islamic State. - Read More, Latimes

How Trump will deal with America's longest war is anyone's guess


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