Does the U.S also need to learn from its mistakes?
Sixteen Years after the horrific 9/11 attacks which changed the world forever a new World Trade Centre stands tall thought it is not quite finished. Looking at this new magnificent building one would be reminded of the thousands of lives lost on the fatal morning of 11th September 2001. However forgetting millions of innocent lives lost owing to the collateral damage cause by the US interventions in some parts of the world is unfair.
During the past sixteen years US policy to Invade Afghanistan has been subject to tremendous criticism for being flawed. The Flawed US-Afghan policy now spearheaded by President Trump seems to be heading in a new direction of deepening regional tensions. President Trump just like Obama wants the US troops to remain in Afghanistan not for very long however he has announced the deployment of additional troops. US despite its efforts of pulling its forces out of Afghanistan today seems trapped in the Afghan quagmire. US has drained many of its resources by trying to retain its presence in Afghanistan a land which no one could conquer and sustain its conquest all the way back to Alexander the Great. Shafie in “Afghan Hearts and Minds” has described Afghanistan as board of chess with Afghan warriors as mere pawns during the fight against Soviet Union.
After the withdrawal of Russian forces in late 80s, US left Afghanistan in a chaotic situation with no formal government in power, that led to the rise of Taliban and resulted in the formation of Al-Qaeda led by Osama Bin Laden who perceived US intentions of securing oil in the Middle East during 90’s and later attacked United States. The devastating incident of 9/11 has resulted in a global fight against terrorism which led Bush to adopt a new policy of dealing with terrorist and rogue regimes at the same time. Bush forsaking the idea of perusing a policy of “political and social reform in the Middle East” invaded Iraq in search of WMD which according to Trump was a lie. The US war on Iraq proved to be a mistake as it mounted sectarian and insurgent brutality ruining Iraqi society and threatening the stability of the Middle East. The violence in Iraq and the breakdown of regional order resulted in the creation of ISIS which again threatens US interests. The US seems to justify its presence in Iraq and its recent airstrikes in Syria under the pretext of the existence of ISIS in the Middle East.
Now US seem to be losing its allies in the International arena owing to Trump’s policy of Isolationism. Trump’s new policy on Afghanistan and South Asia seems to be marginalizing Pakistan’s efforts in the War on Terror. However the truth is that without Pakistan’s army US could not have been able to do much in Afghanistan. The previous US Presidents realizing the regional dynamics have never openly asked India to play a greater role in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan has also been strategically important to Pakistan therefore by asking India to exert its influence in Afghanistan seems to be yet another flawed policy of the United States. International observers are of the view that Trump’s new policy by changing geopolitical alignments would rather de stabilize the region. Asking China which is a member of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group would have been a better choice as a peaceful Afghanistan remains Beijing’s interest. Demanding India to do more in Afghanistan seems to indicate United States policy of containing China which seems to be expanding its spheres of influence owing to its OBOR initiative. There is no denying the fact that Pakistan cannot be completely isolated by the US in the fight against terrorism. Therefore imposing sanctions on Pakistan could bring adverse effects on the war on Terror. Pakistan since 2003 has witnessed the deaths of more than 50,000 civilians and 7,000 security personnel’s in this seeming endless war on terror. As one thing leads to another United States policy of abandonment in the 90’s by turning its back on the war torn Afghanistan was a mistake which ultimately paved way for the horrific 9/11 incident. Repeating past mistakes once again by abandoning Pakistan without whose support peace in Afghanistan could never have been achieved could prove lethal for global peace.
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