Thursday June 20, 2024

Trump’s Afghan policy adds to Kabul woes

By Ahmad Hassan
August 27, 2017

ISLAMABAD: President Donald Trump’s new Afghan policy has not only caused concern for Pakistan but has further fragmented already divided political landscape as president Ashraf Ghani’s approval of American offensive pasture towards Pakistan is opposed by the former president Hamid Karzai.

This fragmentation apart, the Kabul government’s recent overtures for reconciliation and political mainstreaming of Taliban has also been hurt and fears have risen about escalations of hostilities on both sides leading to a fresh influx of Afghan refugees into Pakistan.

The new American policy has not only caused furor in Islamabad due to the threatening tone, but it has also created fissures in the sections of Afghan political groups whose efforts of reconciliation and mainstreaming Taliban into national polity have been hit hard.

The former Prime Minister Eng Gulbadin Hikmatyar’s options have also shrunk as his commitment with the Kabul regime to bring Taliban sections to a dialogue table has also been reduced for which, he  had done a lot of spade work.

It would be worth recalling that Hekmatyar has been staunchly demanding withdrawal of all the foreign troops from Afghanistan to give chance to peace through dialogue with the estranged Taliban. He had an assurance given by the Kabul regime at the time, he entered into a historic accord with it last year that no future reinforcements would be required and that a gradual withdrawal of foreign troops would take place soon.

Whereas Hamid Karzai a father figure in the Afghan society due to his two-term presidency has taken a rigid line by declaring not to tolerate any future air strikes on innocent citizens which cause huge collateral damage, he has also been emerged a nationalist pashtun leader in the country. For,  in his opinion, it was time to reconcile with all the fighting forces in order to strengthen country’s defence against the emerging danger of ‘ISIS’ which is causing havoc with the human lives especially creating sectarian divide in the country.

The Taliban which comprise on multi-sectarian forces are clearly perturbed over the alarming emergence of Daesh activities across the country.

They are, however, getting strong by the day as a large number of regular Afghan national army troops are joining them along with their arms due to lack of salaries and other privileges. The main source of Taliban has become tax on the transportation of opium, the largest cash crop produce of the country, smuggled out of the country.

The defence analysts and experts on Afghanistan also fear that the increase in Indian role in that country could further escalate skirmishes between Taliban and the foreign troops, including Indian installations.

The Taliban who were working on establishment of their political wing to enter into dialogue with the regime in Kabul may also halt its activities for three to four months and return to the strengthening of militant activities. They have already warned imminent escalation of war.

Another phenomenon that has crept into the Afghanistan’s landscape is grabbing the ownership of one trillion-dollar worth of minerals as American companies as well as Indians are vying for the booty in lieu of their services and investment in that country.

The US policy change is also aimed at trying to get foothold in the Taliban captured and influenced areas which are full of these minerals, but the skeptics feel it may further escalate war in all the Taliban held parts of the country and result in pushing the citizens to the Pak Afghan border to sneak across and cause big
influx for already burdened country.