Trump recently announced that the US is staying in Afghanistan and that there would be a surge in troops and a renewal of the war on the Taliban. This is the opposite of Obama, who kept troop numbers low and wanted to get out of Afghanistan and let the Afghan government stand on its own two feet.The war in Afghanistan has been going on for almost 16 years, cost over $600 billion and has claimed the lives of 1,856 US soldiers that died in hostile action. It has become the longest war in US history.
The US first invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and drove out the Taliban with the support of the Northen Alliance. The invasion was a huge success and the US was praised with George Bush. Many Afghans thought this was a new golden era for Afghanistan. However, the Taliban vowed that they will resurge and started a guerrilla war against the US in 2003.
Right now the Taliban seem to be gaining more ground each day and the Afghan government is full of corruption and incompetence. If the US and its allies left, the government would fall into Taliban hands in a matter of moments.
What Trump and the US need to do to ensure that Afghanistan is not over-run by the Taliban is that they need to install a strong authoritative Afghan government that is not crippled by corruption. They also need to reach an agreement with the Taliban and implement a truce. The Taliban have strong support in rural areas and it is almost impossible to completely drive out all of the Taliban. They are a well-organized group that has much support.
Whilst sending more troops can help the Afghan government, it does not mean victory and is not a long-term solution. During Obama’s first term as president, he increased US troops in Afghanistan to 100,000 by August 2010. However, after the death of Osama Bin Laden, the number of troops was reduced and eventually there were only 10,000 troops left near the end of his presidency. Unfortabutly, by the end of his presidency, Afghanistan was rocked with numerous Taliban offenses. This shows that in order for Afghanistan to achieve peace, the US has to use more than just manpower.
One of the major propaganda points for the Taliban is that the US has come to invade Afghanistan for its natural resources. The Taliban are portraying the Americans as colonizers and that it is the duty of Muslims around the world to join in the Jihad against the US. This automatically gets the Taliban huge support and many fighters from around the world have joined the Taliban. Many of the fighters in the Soviet war were foreigners. Imagine the difference if a Muslim majority country invaded Afghanistan. The Taliban will be less popular and would have reduced fighters. Guniabto Bay doesn’t exactly help the US’s image either.
What the US needs to do is show that they are not there to colonize and humiliate the population. Rather, they are there to get rid of terrorists and they will help build the country. This can be done by publicly sending more engineers and medics to the country as opposed to more infantry troops. Trump visiting schools and new buildings and building new mosques would help America’s image.
Whilst the US and its allies have poured billions into Afghanistan, not much of that aid reached ordinary Afghans. Much of it went to the pockets of government bureaucrats and their relatives. If the US made greater efforts into aid helping the average Afghan than US support will increase.
In order for the US to set-up a stable Afghan government and bring peace to the region, it will need to change its current policy.