New troops to Afghanistan in 'days or weeks — US commander

US President Donald Trump announces the new strategy

It is as expected.

US defense officials, however, are admitting that the US already has thousands more troops in Afghanistan than the last official Pentagon figure would suggest. Rather neatly, Trump was suggesting a timeless deployment of US forces - for where time has ceased as a measure, there can only be conditions to assess.

While Washington may hope that this motivates Islamabad to crack down on the groups that launch attacks into Afghanistan and Indian-administered Kashmir, it does not come without risk.

"If they close terrorists' safe zones in Pakistan it will widely affect the activities of the terrorists in Afghanistan".

Trump's South Asia plan is meant to force the Taliban to accept that they "will not win a battlefield victory", Tillerson said. It was even introspective, as he attempted to explain why he is reversing his oft-stated "America first" determination to pull troops and resources out of Afghanistan. It rarely involves entire nations, risks military and civilian lives, or holds the potential of escalating into adversarial thermonuclear exchange.

America's expedient use of friends and foes is nothing new. But this is realpolitik.

Being the nation's top dog and sitting behind that desk in the Oval office comes with some harsh realities. Do we need these reminders?

Long a skeptic of our overseas military adventures, President Donald Trump did an about-face Monday when he announced a new, more aggressive military strategy in the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan.

Senior administration officials said the President had agreed to increase troop levels, but noted that Trump delegated the authority to manage troop levels to Mattis in June. The U.S. has since given Pakistan billions of dollars in military aid.

The US has little choice but to use Pakistani roads and air corridors to resupply its troops in landlocked Afghanistan, giving Islamabad considerable leverage. "Attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing Al Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan and stopping mass terror attacks against America before they emerge". The cost to civilians could be terrible, analysts have said.

Trump gave a solid speech Monday, but he appears not to have read the history books. Our relations with our western neighbours, including Iran, are at a low point.

Trump for the first time also left the door open to an eventual political deal with the Taliban.

But following months of deliberation, Trump said he had concluded "the consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable" leaving a "vacuum" that terrorists "would instantly fill".

US forces have been bogged down since in a war that has vexed three American presidents. At least on this one, he is in good company.

The writer was a former deputy opinion editor at Gulf News, Dubai.

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