President Donald Trump has ruled out withdrawal from Afghanistan. He initially resisted his advisers and was adamant on taking out US troops. Trumpâ€™s Chief Political Strategist Steve Bannon was fostering a scheme devised by Erik Prince, the owner of the notorious security contractors firm Blackwater, to replace US troops in Afghanistan with 5,000 highly paid mercenaries. However, on August 18, Trump conceded to his national security teamâ€™s plan for a surge of US troops to Afghanistan. Under a crisis-ridden system, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Bannon had to resign from his post. Vice-president Mike Pence told Congress that 3,900 extra soldiers would be sent to bolster the 8,400 there already.
Trump also warned Pakistan:â€We can no longer be silent about Pakistanâ€™s safe havens for terrorist organisations… Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbour terrorists… we have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting.â€
Trump removed the garb of diplomatic hypocrisy most US presidents veiled in the past.â€ He didnâ€™t even spare the Afghan regime.â€Our support is not a blank cheque… our patience is not unlimited. We will keep our eyes wide open.â€
Just hours before TrumpÂ´s remarks, there was a stark reminder of the TalibanÂ´s reach when a missile hit KabulÂ´s heavily fortified diplomatic zone. A specially appointed congressional committee on Afghanistan has reported that the proportion of the country under government control had fallen during the 12 months from 72 percent to 57 percent, and 6,785 Afghan troops were killed with another 11,777 wounded. The Afghan National Security Forces have 370,000 troops and police. Between 2015 and 2016, 19 Americans were killed in action.
After the imperialist aggression in 2001, there has been a harrowing devastation of the already traumatised Afghanistan masses. The US puppet regime cannot expand its writ much beyond Kabul and the Taliban keep attacking but cannot return to power. Al-Qaeda still lurks in the shadows. The Islamic State is gaining ground in some regions. All kinds of power brokers jockey for their share of the lucrative opium trade that continues to reach record levels, in this stalemate. The imperialists have been looking for an exit strategy for at least a decade.PJ Crowley, a former US Assistant Secretary of State, commented on Trumpâ€™s speech and said, â€œThe Afghan war is not going to end any time soon, certainly not in his first term. He needs to tell the American people that US and NATO forces will still be in Afghanistan in 2021. Both Mullah Omar, the Talibanâ€™s leader at the time of the 11 September 2001 attacks, and Bin Laden died (the al-Qaeda leader killed by the US) on Pakistani soil. That is not a coincidence. There is no prospect of success in Afghanistan without dealing with Pakistanâ€™s duplicity.â€
Donald Trump could only muster a hollow warning against Pakistan. In the past, withholding US aid has had little effect on the countryâ€™s deep state. American administrations have been accusing Pakistan for years of â€˜running with the hare and hunting with the houndsâ€™. US imperialismâ€™s criminal launching of CIAâ€™s largest covert operation in connivance with the Saudi and Pakistanâ€™s spy agencies to destroy the 1978 Saur revolution in Afghanistan comes back to haunt them. Their Frankenstein monsters created in the name of Islam are striking back with a vengeance.
Pakistanâ€™s spooks are not only aware of this intrinsic weakness of the US but are conscious of their relevance in this conflictâ€™s resolution, if any. They are not going to heed Trumpâ€™s shallow warnings with their embrace of Chinese patronage. Nor will they give up their policy of â€˜strategic depthâ€™ particularly when everybody else is preying in the territory that is perceived by them as Pakistanâ€™s domain. The largest investor in Afghanistan with stakes in oil, gas, copper and other projects is China. Hence it is a principal participant in the conflict, but has avoided getting directly involved in Afghanistanâ€™s internecine war. However, Chinaâ€™s swift rebuttal against Trumpâ€™s remarks on Pakistan shows the former will try its best to fight any threat to its One Belt One Road project in the region with a massive investment of 900 billion dollars. But troubles of the western imperialists are intensifying.They are not going to heed Trumpâ€™s shallow warnings with their embrace of Chinese patronage. Nor will they give up their policy of â€˜strategic depthâ€™ particularly when everybody else is preying in the territory that is perceived by them as Pakistanâ€™s domain. The largest investor in Afghanistan with stakes in oil, gas, copper and other projects is China. The Economist wrote, â€œPerhaps most worryingly, Iran and Russia, always on the lookout for opportunities to undermine Western interests, are now working together to fund, arm and shelter the Taliban.â€
Indian bourgeois has its hegemonic designs on Afghanistan. Saudi monarchy and other Gulf and Arab states nurture their proxies. One wonders how many great games the tormented people of Afghanistan can endure. All these stakeholders operate with their proxies comprising of the so-called non-state actors that are bestial terrorist mafias ravaging the region.
To achieve peace and prosperity, youth and toilers shall have to rise and take their destinies in their own hands. The victimised classes will indubitably rebel and enter the arena of mass revolt. Only through a revolutionary victory can peace and emancipation be guaranteed.