Following release of three Indian engineers in exchange for key Taliban leaders immediately after the Islamabad trilateral contacts – US, Taliban and Pakistan early this month, should we expect another tweet-jolt on Afghanistan within next few days?
Addressing a public rally at Minneapolis late last week President Donald Trump dropped the strongest hint yet he might soon recall some of his troops from Afghanistan.
“We were supposed to be in Syria for 30 days we have now been their for ten years we were supposed to be in Afghanistan for a short period of time we are now going to be there for close to 19 years. It’s time to bring them home, it’s time to bring them home.”
The crowd burst into ovation and clapping the moment Trump expressed those words (it is time for US forces to come home).
“We have done our job. We have defeated everyone that we were supposed to defeat. …We are now not fighting, we are policing,” Trump explained in a speech that also spoke of the Green on Blue attacks.
When the so-called people we are teaching how to fight turn the gun on them and shoot. We have had a lot of them, a lot of it in Afghanistan more than we have ever had proportionately before. It’s a horrible, horrible thing but I have to sign these letters, Trump said in an emotional outburst when talking of the condolence letters he signs for the parents or other family members of the US forces killed by Afghan soldiers, usually Taliban infiltrators.
The Green on Blue attacks have remained a source of continuous concern, and meanwhile even the top US commanders carry personal weapons when on inspection trips, particularly in the southern and southeastern Afghan regions.
With two deaths in September the number of U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan in the so-called Green-on-Blue attacks to date has risen to 17 in this year.
Trump also alluded to the opposition to at least partial pullout from Afghanistan, where some 14,000 U.S. troops are currently stationed as part of the U.S.-led NATO mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces and to carry out counter-terrorism operations.
“And then I have all the people that want to stay, they want to stay and I don’t want to stay, ” he underlined in an expression of frustration.
Unsurprisingly, Trump’s comments, it seems, have fuelled speculation within the United States that the President may be positioning himself to drop yet another bombshell and pull the plug on America’s longest overseas military intervention, and thus further expose the political discord and intense power struggles that have followed the controversial Afghan presidential elections – with both President Ghani and Dr.Abdullah Abdullah claiming totally unsubstantiated victories with a less than 26 percent voter turn out. Let us wait and see!