What might victory in Afghanistan look like — Philadephia Inquirer

Suicide bomb attack at Afghanistan's Bagram Airbase leaves three injured

Pakistan somehow was apprehensive of the outcome of Mr Trump's consultations with his generals. An offshoot of this new Afghan strategy however has been fallouts of Trump's approach on the relations between Pakistan and the US.

Last week, USFOR-A vowed to investigate an air strike that killed more than 10 civilians in Logar province.

Whether Trump's new approach will work or not depends mostly on how it is played at the operational and tactical level to achieve stability for the United States and the region at large, but one thing is for certain: trying the same thing over and again expecting a different result is unlikely to get the U.S. anywhere. Anti-India terror groups and their leaders, nominated as global terrorists by the United States, with bounties of ten million dollars, roam freely in Pakistan, openly address the public and gather funds.

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Afghanistan is known as the "Graveyard of Empires". The Taliban claimed responsibility and said it was in retaliation for "their insult to the Islamic creed". Taliban, fattened by money from smuggling opium is well-armed and better organised. On the other hand, the Taliban is a party of conservative Islamic fundamentalists vying for control of their home country.

It also comes after US President Donald Trump performed a U-turn on Afghanistan, abandoning his previous position of disengagement.

With this declaration, Islamabad could stand isolated globally on the issues of "cross-border terrorism" that Pakistan has now, at least at the policy level, pledged to curb and has also made a decision to not to let its territory be used for terrorism against other countries since the unanimous passage of the National Action Plan. Its two major allies in the Afghan war, the National Army of Afghanistan and the Pakistan military, both began to perceive the U.S. as having neither the political will, nor the capacity to provide a solution in Afghanistan. Pakistan does not seem anxious as its relationship with China is now worth Dollars 110 billion-with the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) bringing in USD 4 billion in 2017. Pakistan Foreign Ministry described Trump's allegation as "a false narrative". Its Afghan policy, seeking to dominate the country by employing terror groups has resulted in Afghanistan considering Pakistan an enemy rather than a reliable neighbour. Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif briefed the Senate on August 24 that the high-level meeting attended by PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and all the service chiefs strongly rejected Trump's accusations. For its long-term presence, instability in Afghanistan suits USA and perhaps India (being its strategic partner), but does not suit all these regional stakeholders. He said victory would be well-defined, but outlined only vague benchmarks for success, like dismantling al-Qaida and preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan. The military aid paid under the Coalition Supports Fund is reimbursement for what the Pakistan army spends in counterterrorism operations in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. So much for engaging the Taliban in talks, or the government in Kabul in reform.

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"When we had 100,000 USA troops in Afghanistan, we couldn't secure the whole country", said Ben Rhodes, who served as Obama's deputy national security adviser. "There's no other suitable supply route to Afghanistan except Pakistan".

To Delhi, which always accuses Pakistan of providing safe havens to militants, Trump lambasting Pakistan sounded sweet. First is, Trump's diagnosis of the Afghan problem. But, as Sun Tzu said, "tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat". For one it will antagonise both India and Pakistan - key regional players in the region. "I admit that children are being sent for religious studies in Pakistani madrassas, but I don't think they are trained to become suicide bombers", Haji Mohammad Sharif, a tribal elder from Paktika province which borders Ghazni, told AFP.

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