WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump’s decision to intensify US involvement in Afghanistan has met with doubts and frustration in Pakistan as officials in Afghanistan widely welcomed the new war plan and foresee it a step forward towards putting more pressure on the militant groups and countries that Afghan government believes are harboring the insurgents particularly the Taliban group.
As international reactions on President Trump’s war strategy on Afghanistan coming in, a number of Pakistani military officials have said that the new war strategy announced today was not something new.
Pakistani military officials have claimed that the terrorists are not enjoying safe havens in Pakistani soil, suggesting Trump to come up with evidences to prove that Pakistan was harboring militant groups in its territory.
“We realized that negotiations with the terrorists will not yield an outcome, therefore we preferred to launch operation in the tribal areas. Today no terroristis present in anywhere in Pakistan,” said former Pakistani military officer Assad Munir. “If Trump and his aides believe that terrorists have hideouts here (in Pakistan), then he should bring evidence to prove it.”
2014 US Troops Withdraw Was a Mistake
Talking to TOLOnews in a debate with Pakistani analysts on Tuesday, former Afghan Chief of Army Staff Gen. Sher Mohammad Karimi said the withdrawal of international troops in 2014 from Afghanistan fueled enemy’s war machine and persuaded them to intensify their war.
“The US decision of evacuating its troops from Afghanistan in 2014 was wrong, because the Afghan soldiers were continuing their military training in those days and the American forces were supporting Afghanistan in the fight against terrorism,” Karimi said. “The withdrawal of the international community from Afghanistan was followed by some disappointments. The Afghan security forces were ready to defend the country but the enemy’s moral was growing higherbecause of the withdrawal.”
Other Pakistani politician said in the debate that in the new strategy, President Trump has not designated Pakistan officially as state sponsor of terrorism and that the he did not announce a possible aid cut to Islamabad.
“We failed to defeat terrorism in our country. We failed to bring reforms in ourmadrasas (religious schools). We should be realistic,” said Afrasyab Khatak, chairman of Pakistan’s Awami Milli Party. “I think Pakistan’s Afghanistan policy is not working properly and the support to the Taliban is not right; it was wrong even if Trump had not mention it.”
On the ground, Trump announcement of adding to the number of US forces in Afghanistan within the framework of the new war strategy has sparked hopes and optimism among the Afghans who are paying heavy prices on a daily basis in the campaign against insurgency.
China defends ally Pakistan after Trump criticism
BEIJING (Reuters) – China defended its ally Pakistan on Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump said the United States could no longer be silent about Pakistan’s “safe havens” for militants and warned it had much to lose by continuing to “harbor terrorists”.
Trump on Monday committed the United States to an open-ended conflict in Afghanistan, signaling he would dispatch more troops to America’s longest war and vowing “a fight to win”.
Trump insisted that others – the Afghan government, Pakistan, India and NATO allies – step up their own commitment to resolving the 16-year conflict, but he saved his sharpest words for Pakistan.
Senior U.S. officials warned security assistance for Pakistan could be reduced unless the nuclear-armed nation cooperated more in preventing militants from using safe havens on its soil.
Critics say Pakistan sees militants such as the Taliban as useful tools to limit the influence of old rival India. Pakistan denies allowing militants refuge on its territory, saying it takes action against all groups.
Asked about Trump’s speech, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Pakistan was on the front line in the struggle against terrorism and had made “great sacrifices” and “important contributions” in the fight.
“We believe that the international community should fully recognize Pakistan’s anti-terrorism,” she told a daily news briefing.
“We are happy to see Pakistan and the United States carry out anti-terror cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, and work together for security and stability in the region and world.”
China and Pakistan consider each other “all-weather friends” and have close diplomatic, economic and security ties.
China has its own security concerns in the region, in particular any links between militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan and Islamist groups China blames for violence in its far western region of Xinjiang.
“We hope the relevant U.S. policies can help promote the security, stability and development of Afghanistan and the region,” Hua said.