See More on Facebook

Diplomacy, Opinion

Trump on Afghanistan

Trump’s latest misstep on Afghanistan puts the country once again in the headlines.


Written by

Updated: July 26, 2019

THE American president is not known for his politically correct remarks, be it on pressing domestic issues or delicate matters of foreign affairs.

In his recent interaction with Prime Minister Imran Khan, Donald Trump spoke about the Afghan issue — a concern that largely shapes the Trump administration’s views vis-à-vis Pakistan.

However, what Mr Trump said has raised a furore of sorts, with the Afghan government seeking clarification of his comments.

Perhaps meaning to indicate his lack of appetite for further foreign wars, the US president said while meeting Mr Khan that he could easily win the Afghan conflict but did not “want to kill 10m people”, while adding that the US could wipe Afghanistan “off the face of the earth”.

Whatever Mr Trump meant to say, his comments have come across as arrogant and insensitive; oddly, the presidential bluster comes as the US peace envoy is headed to Kabul for talks with the Afghan Taliban.

Unfortunately, the US has been unable to extricate itself from Afghanistan for nearly two decades.

What started off as a mission to punish those supposedly involved in the Sept 11 terror attacks has transformed into an open-ended war; moreover, the Americans have also attempted nation-building in Afghanistan, trying to transplant a Western model of democracy in a tribal society already reeling from instability and war since the 1970s.

However, these attempts have failed to bear fruit, as the nation remains divided along ethno-linguistic lines, while the Taliban are said to control nearly half of the country.

The fact is that the US must acknowledge that its ‘shock-and-awe’ tactics in the country, and its attempts to engineer a political and social structure, have utterly failed.

Instead of making misguided comments about obliterating Afghanistan and killing millions of people, the American president needs to highlight a doable exit strategy.

Moreover, the American establishment must admit that its cavalier attempts at nation-building in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya were wrong and that its efforts have left these nations worse off.

However, Mr Trump was right when he said Pakistan could help the US exit Afghanistan.

Indeed, this country has played and should continue to play a role in bringing peace to Afghanistan.

Moreover, instability in the latter has been one of the major factors behind the sociopolitical upheaval in Pakistan, especially in the wake of the Soviet invasion.

Yet while Pakistan, the US, and all neighbours of Afghanistan have key roles to play where facilitating peace between Kabul and the Taliban is concerned, the process needs to be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned.

The shuttle diplomacy between Kabul, Doha and other cities is continuing to persuade the Taliban to sign a peace deal.

But the process is slow and painstaking, which is why foreign players must be careful about the comments they make, and not risk inflaming the situation with loose talk.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Dawn
About the Author: Dawn is Pakistan's oldest and most widely read English-language newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy, Opinion

Hong Kong adds another dimension to US-China trade war

Hong Kong’s has become another consideration for Xi and Trump in their ongoing trade dispute. The United States and China have been embroiled in a trade war for almost two years with reciprocal tariffs and fiery rhetoric coming from both sides. Both economies have suffered and the world’s two largest economies both face the looming threat of recession. China, in addition to a tenuous economic situation is also facing more woes in Hong Kong, a Chinese territory that is self-governed. Protesters have taken to the streets in the island-territory after a proposed extradition law was publicly opposed. The protests have evolved beyond the initial grievances to long-held anxieties over the economy, living space and, ultimately, rule by Beijing. As the pro-democracy protests gather steam and threaten to become more widespread and violent, the United States has involved itself and ad


By Cod Satrusayang
August 16, 2019

Diplomacy, Opinion

Moon urges Japan to choose ‘path of dialogue and cooperation’

Japan and South Korea have been locked in an increasingly ugly trade spat. President Moon Jae-in said Thursday that Seoul will cooperate with Tokyo if it retracts its recent trade restrictions, stressing the importance of international cooperation and free trade. “Within the realm of the international division of labor, if any country weaponizes a sector where it has a comparative advantage, the peaceful free trade order will inevitably suffer damages,” Moon said in his Liberation Day speech. “Better late than never. If Japan chooses the path of dialogue and cooperation, we will gladly join hands. We will strive with Japan to create an East


By The Korea Herald
August 16, 2019

Diplomacy, Opinion

China will quell Hong Kong protests that show signs of terrorism: Chinese ambassador to UK

China has previously said that the protests have bordered on terrorism. China will use its power to quell Hong Kong protests if the situation deteriorates further after some protesters have shown signs of terrorism, China’s ambassador to London said on Thursday (Aug 15). “Should the situation in Hong Kong deteriorate further… the central government will not sit on its hands and watch,” Ambassador Liu Xiaoming told reporters at a news conference in London. “We have enough solutions and enough power within the limits of (the) Basic Law to quell any unrest swiftly,” Mr Liu said. “Their moves are severe and violent offences, and already shows signs of terrorism.” He added: “The central gove


By The Straits Times
August 16, 2019

Diplomacy, Opinion

UNSC to hold ‘closed door’ meeting on India’s Kashmir move: Reports

The meeting will be held at Pakistan’s request. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will reportedly hold a “closed door” meeting to discuss India’s move to revoke Article 37, that had granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir. UNSC President Joanna Wronecka told reporters on Wednesday said that they would discuss “the Jammu and Kashmir situation behind closed doors most likely on August 16”, according to media reports. The development comes after Pakistan wrote a formal letter to the UNSC president calling for an emergency meeting of the UNSC to discuss India’s move to revoke the special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The letter was sent through Permanent Representative Maleha Lodhi to convene the meeting. “I have requested in the letter that a special meeting of the Security Council should be called to discuss those actions of India which we consider as illegal and aga


By The Statesman
August 16, 2019

Diplomacy, Opinion

Here’s how you can protect yourself from dengue

With the possibility of an outbreak, it’s important to understand the disease and recognise its symptoms. The WHO on Monday warned that the Kathmandu Valley might be in for a possible dengue outbreak. According to news published in the Post, in the fiscal year 2018-2019, more than 3,425 people had been infected with the dengue virus—the highest number of infections in 15 years. The mosquito-borne viral disease is transmitted by the female Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. The same mosquitoes also transmit the chikungunya virus, yellow fever, and Zika virus, according to the WHO. With the lurking threat of the possibility of the disease’s outbreak in


By The Kathmandu Post
August 16, 2019

Diplomacy, Opinion

China, the United States and the story of agriculture

China says the US responsible for its farmers’ woes. Editor’s Note: Last week the Commerce Ministry said Chinese enterprises have halted the purchase of US agricultural products following Washington’s threat to impose 10 percent tariffs on another $300 billion of Chinese goods. Two experts share their views on the issue with China Daily’s Yao Yuxin. Excerpts follow: Declining exports to hit US farmers The Chinese enterprises’ decision to suspend the purchase of US agricultural products, mainly soybean, dairy products, sorghum and pork, will deal a fresh blow to farmers and traders in the United States. The escalating trade conflict between the world’s two largest economies has slashed US exports of farm produce to China, which used to be the largest importer of US soybean. China imported $9.1 billion worth of US farm produce last year, down fr


By China Daily
August 16, 2019