Analysis: A shift from Military response to Development in Afghanistan

After 17 years of fighting, the U.S. armed forces have exhausted their military assets in Afghanistan (since 2001) against the Taliban and also against Daesh which had little impact on the conflict leading Trump to consider a shift to development.
By: Ahmadzai
 
 
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KABUL, Afghanistan - Dec. 4, 2018 - PRLog -- There are two dialogues taking place regarding peace process - the first is the U.S. Quadrilateral Group for Afghanistan and the second dialogue is in the hands of Russia. While the U.S. has not included the Taliban in the process publicly and has repeatedly lied about peace talks, but Russia seems more optimistic about the inclusion of all parties. This came clear when Taliban were invited to take part in Moscow meeting in November. The government of Afghanistan refused to attend.

Meanwhile, the American forces have decreased their boots-on-the-ground approach since the Barack Obama days to about 15,000 under U.S. President Donald Trump. According to estimates, there are about 40,000 Taliban fighters within Afghanistan. Furthermore, at the Moscow conference, Taliban representative from Qatar echoed that their group has strong support from 45% - 70% of the Afghan population.

Earlier this year, Afghanistan's national security adviser suddenly resigned without giving a reason, but the Afghan president said it was "best" for the country. And after Imran Khan won the election in Pakistan, Pakistan set the direction straight by allowing Afghan refugees to live in their country without harassment by police. This comes at a time when many countries including the U.S., Canada and Germany are discussing whether immigrants from other countries should be provided sanctuary or not.

The U.S. and the Afghan security forces have stepped up their airstrikes in the country, which have killed several thousands of innocent people. The locals have blamed the government forces for these killings. The United Nations says civilian casualties have gone up this year by about 39 percent, which is higher than the 2017 figures. It is envisioned that airstrikes would continue even after peace has been achieved since there are other groups like Daesh and Haqqani Network which would continue to pose a threat to safety and security.

In 2017, the U.S. Army said there were 600 Daesh fighters in the country as the news came after the "mother of all bombs" was hit by anti-government militants in the eastern part of the country. It's expected there will be more air-powered attacks in and around Helmand and Kandahar provinces. Recently, Kandahar head of police was killed. Daesh has continued to attack in and around Afghanistan namely targeting provincial candidate in the October election despite Afghan government providing security to elections.

There are reasons that highlight what would happen if foreign forces leave - the Taliban would return to power or there would be a clash between the government warlords. Also, Pakistan would continue to pose a challenge for Afghanistan as the issue of Durand Line hasn't been solved so far. These are the last days of Americans in Afghanistan and it would be worthwhile to see which of the issues would be resolved. At the Geneva conference, U.S. Ambassador John Bass said development is key for obtaining peace in Afghanistan. Both Russia's conference and Geneva's conference noted that "development" is key to the long-lasting peace within the country and is a topic that will likely be highlighted in the future.

A shift from a military approach which hasn't worked to development is obviously positive and will help all parties to get what they want. This is needed since none of the parties have done work in villages, or built any hospitals to help people.

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