trump’s vow

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 01 Feb 2018 11:16:11


WHILE talking to UN Security Council ambassadors US President Mr. Donald Trump made his mind known when he said, “What nobody else has been able to finish we’re going to be able to do it,” pointing to the recent heightened terrorist attacks by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Only recently the United States, by carrying out drone attacks on the Haqqani hideouts in Pakistan, demonstrated its readiness to carry out daring attacks on terrorist safe havens in Afghanistan and Pakistan, thereby sending out clear and unequivocal message to Pakistan Government, to terrorists hiding in that country and also the Taliban active in Afghanistan. Reaffirming his firm resolve against any act of terrorism anywhere in the world, Mr. Trump told the ambassadors that there would be no talks with the Taliban and instead vowed to “finish” them.

Obviously the recent deadly attacks on some civilian and military targets by the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Islamic State extremists appears to be the provocation for Mr. Trump to harden his stance on the Taliban. There was a suggestion, apparently from the Pakistan side, to engage Taliban to restore normalcy in the war-torn Afghanistan. But recent attacks by the Taliban on the Government forces and civilian targets rules out the possibility of the United States engaging with the Taliban in restoration of normalcy and peace. Such a stance of the US President on Taliban is obviously a setback for the Pakistan.

This hardline by Mr. Trump further vitiates the atmosphere for Pakistan as Taliban is considered to be the protege of the Pakistani establishment through which Islamabad is looking to gain foothold after the complete withdrawal of troops by the United States and its allies from Afghanistan.

The renewed terror activities by the Taliban would also compel the United States to review its withdrawal plans from Afghanistan as the situation is no better than when it waged a war against the terrorists organisations like the Al Qaeda, the Taliban and the Haqqani network in the wake of the 9/11 terror attack on the United States. However, the Pentagon feels that increased deadly attacks by the terrorist organisation does not mean Taliban gaining ascendency in the country and according to US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley Taliban is receding.

It is no secret from the world now that the Pakistan military and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is providing all help to the Taliban. Hence both Pakistan and Taliban could face Mr. Trump’s ire. By attacking terror positions in Pakistan the Mr. Trump has sent out a stern message that the US will not hesitate to carry out strikes within Pakistan territory to achieve its goal. Mr. Trump has already indicated imminent stronger military response. This is a warning both to Pakistan as well as all the terror networks functional in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

While Mr. Trump has made his stance clear on how he wants to deal with the menace of Taliban, Haqqani network, Islamic State and even Pakistan, for the nations in their neighbourhood, they are the most destabilising factor. India is already fighting these destructive forces for a very long time and will have to maintain an eternal vigil on its own. Since terrorism is a state-sponsored phenomenon by the Pakistani Government, there is no escape from eternal vigil against these forces.

Since Pakistan does not want any kind of Indian presence in Afghanistan, at Islamabad’s bidding Taliban has targeted Indian establishments in that country from time to time. Hence it would be important for India to protect its interests in Afghanistan while the international community envisages a greater role for India in the rebuilding of the war-ravaged country.