Executive Intelligence Review


Trump’s Proposal To Withdraw Troops from Afghanistan Has Got the Ball Rolling in the Region

Jan. 3, 2018 (EIRNS)—Following the Dec. 20, 2018 revelation to the media by unnamed U.S. officials that President Donald Trump has directed the Pentagon to withdraw nearly half of more than 14,000 U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan, regional powers have jumped in to evaluate what their future role will be, and how they should respond to the post-withdrawal phase.

Today, India Today reported the arrival of Afghanistan’s National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib in New Delhi to meet with Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, over the security situation in Afghanistan, and to discuss ways to enhance cooperation between the two nations.

On Dec. 25, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had been called to Beijing by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, after which China issued a statement saying “the two sides agreed that military actions will not help solve the Afghanistan issue, and political reconciliation represents the only practical and viable way out of it.” A day earlier on Dec. 24, the Iranian Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani visited Kabul, and according to the Tehran Times, Shamkhani told Hamdullah Mohib that Iran is holding talks with a faction of the Taliban.

During his Jan. 2 cabinet meeting, President Trump had urged Russians, Pakistanis and Indians to join the fight against the Taliban and ISIS, according to Radio Free Europe and its Iranian outlet Radio Farda, which quoted him as saying:

“You take a look at other countries. Pakistan is there. They should be fighting. Russia should be fighting. The reason Russia was in Afghanistan [in the 1980s] was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there. Why isn’t Russia there [now]? Why isn’t India there? Why isn’t Pakistan there? Why are we there and we’re 6,000 miles away?”

Developments in the Afghan situation could also help to reduce hostilities between Pakistan and India. On Dec. 22, during his address to a parade in Karachi, Pakistan’s Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa called upon the Indian leaders to fight against hunger, disease and illiteracy, rather than fight against each other, The Dawn reported.