WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump, on Monday unleashed his policy of ramping up pressure on Pakistan, a close ally of US, in a bid to fully implement the revamped Afghan war strategy.
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Accusing Islamabad of harbouring “agents of chaos, violence, and terror” the tycoon-turned-president clarified to increase pressure on the country to stop any re-emergence of safe havens in order to gain regional peace, besides announcing increase of US troops in Afghanistan.
President Trump stated this in his first formal address to the nation as commander-in-chief while announcing a new strategy regarding Pakistan’s neighbouring country, Afghanistan, where America landed with its troops after 9/11 attacks nearly 16 years ago, Monday night aiming at achieving a “lasting peace”.
He said, “We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban, and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond,” adding, “Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan.”
While suggesting Pakistan to show “commitment to civilisation, order, and peace,” Trump highlighted that cooperation to curb terrorists will not work if the partner country continues to offer shelter to extremists.
Regarding the presence of US troops in war-torn country, Afghanistan, he backtracked from his pledge to swiftly finish the war and expressed intent to continue the engagement of the US army with Afghan government.
He added that troops will not be withdrawn from the country as hasty evacuation will create space for terrorists. Trumps said the “mistake” of withdrawal from Iraq will not be repeated in Afghanistan.
Highlighting the focus of US in Afghanistan, Trump said: “We are killing terrorists,” instead of “nation-building”.
“From now on, victory will have a clear definition: attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing Al Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, and stopping mass terror attacks against America,” Trump said during the address.
“We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting,” he said. “That will have to change and that will change immediately.”
However, the president hinted at increasing US presence in Afghanistan during his speech but avoided disclosing the number of troops.
According to Fox News, Trump has approved the deployment of an additional 4,000 troops to Afghanistan, apparently listening to appeals from his generals.
Role of India
Hailing India’s important contribution to Afghanistan, he also said that India would play a greater role in providing economic and developmental support to Afghanistan.
In June, it emerged that the US would dispatch an additional 4,000 troops to Afghanistan in a bid to turn around a war that commanders have described as a stalemate.
Following the decision, the Taliban issued an open letter in August asking Trump to leave Afghanistan stating that Trump had recognised the errors of his predecessors by seeking a review of the US policy on Afghanistan.
The US President has been asked to call off American troops instead of deploying more for which a plan has been approved. The letter suggested that he should avoid authorising US military to make US Afghan policy.