Nato-Trump row

Keeping NATO-allies blindsided, US President Donald John Trump announced withdrawal 7,000 out of 14,000 troops from Afghanistan – one of the decisions disagreeing with which Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis put in his papers. However, the chief executive office at Kabul heaved a sigh of relief and appreciated the US initiative in successfully in persuading Taliban militants to hold face-to-face talks with the government, having taken place in Qatar capital Doha. A spokesperson Feraidoon Khozon said, “We are still optimistic and hopeful that Taliban will meet Afghanistan’s negotiating team. Our regional and US friends are trying to pave the ground and encourage Taliban to hold face to face talks with government’s team,” although Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid stated bluntly that the Taliban negotiators would not meet the government’s delegation while the latter seems prepared to extend negotiations with the US Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation Amb Zalmay Khalilzad for a second round of the on-going peace process.
Last year Mattis and other top military advisors prevailed over Trump to commit thousands of new troops to Afghanistan, where the Taliban were slaughtering local forces in the thousands and making major gains, despite the US President’s expressed instinct to get out of Afghanistan. The decision to pull out dazed and stupefied NATO allies that launched the Operation Resolute Support in 2015 to train and advise the Afghan security forces – an operation involving nearly 16,000 troops and 41 nations. Trump’s plans had no advance notice or preparation. Conceitedly, he tweeted, “We have defeated ISIS in Syria… Getting out of Syria was no surprise. I’ve been campaigning on it for years, and six months ago, when I very publicly wanted to do it, I agreed to stay longer. Russia, Iran, Syria & others are the local enemy of ISIS. We were doing their work. Time to come home & rebuild.”
Expressing strong resent for NATO allies, hardly left being kept in the dark -- neither the U.S. Congress nor the Afghan government was briefed on the withdrawal plans in advance -- Oana Lungescu, Romania-born NATO spokeswoman, in a statement asserted that the alliance remained committed to Operation Resolute Support. “In general, let me remind you that the Afghan army and police have been fully in charge of the security of Afghanistan for over four years. Our aim is to train, advise and assist the Afghan forces, as they create the conditions for peace. At the NATO summit in July, allied leaders also agreed to extend funding for the Afghan security forces until 2024. Earlier this month, NATO foreign ministers expressed steadfast commitment to ensuring long-term security and stability in Afghanistan. Our engagement is important to ensure that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for international terrorists, who could threaten us at home. They are a brave, committed and increasingly capable force, who have ensured the security of the parliamentary elections earlier this year." (PTI)

Saturday, 29 December, 2018