There’s been a considerable amount of solid debate on whether the U.S. should withdraw all troops from Afghanistan and just watch to see what happens from the outside. Against this backdrop President Trump is anticipated to call for a firm commitment to the region, perhaps adding 4,000 U.S. troops.
President Trump will give a prime-time address to the nation at 9 p.m. tonight to detail his view of the U.S. role in Afghanistan, and the continued presence held. However, the majority of President Trump’s speech is now anticipated to be a ‘big picture’ overview with an accompanying public outline of expectations for regional participants such as Pakistan and India.
The problem, at least as it is presenting itself, stems from any U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan likely to embolden the extremist outlook of the Taliban and local people who would be captive to the extremist ideology. With a growing extremist sense, and with an already admitted tenuously perched nuclear Pakistan as the neighboring conduit, the potential for expanded terror threats looms significant.
The problem isn’t really Afghanistan, it’s Pakistan.
Even the potential for extremists to infiltrate and arm themselves with nuclear capability is beyond alarming to contemplate. The odds, even small odds, become even more serious if we consider the absence, via withdrawal, of U.S. oversight and/or monitoring.
This overarching concern is the basic framework to outline how the United States views the role and responsibility of Pakistan and India moving forward. Their roles, and that aspect, is anticipated to be the primary focus of the speech tonight at Fort Myer.
The modest troop presence expected to be outlined is essentially a preventative and security presence; a buttress, a security policy or guardianship, intended to ensure that catastrophic weapons -which do exist in the region- do not fall into the hands of the ideology who would use them to strike Europe, allies, or even the U.S.
Amid this oversight model, President Trump is anticipated to continue attempts to grow diplomatic relationships within the region and support their individual economic goals as a process to achieve stability. Toward that end President Trump and India’s Prime Minister Modi have already begun establishing an economic network.
The generational conflict between Pakistan and India has focused on their differences; it appears President Trump hopes to open a dialogue based on mutual self-interests of security and stability keeping the elements of Islamic Extremism from impacting both regional nations. Keeping a U.S. footprint in Afghanistan is the only way to sell both regional nuclear players the U.S. is committed to this security initiative given the nature of their inherent skepticism and distrust.
Were the U.S. to withdraw completely from Afghanistan, the concern would be that extremist elements strengthen, threaten and infiltrate Pakistan even more, and then out of a basic sense of survival Pakistan would not be in a position to stop themselves from being targeted by an insurgency. The fact that OBL was able to live in Pakistan undetected for a long period of time lends credence to the reality that extremists already have a support network within Pakistan; hence the tenuous nature of their stability.