Afghan Journalist: UK Troops Deployment Raises Mission Effectiveness Questions

© AP Photo / Rahmat Gul / US and NATO soldiers take part in a ceremony to commemorate the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center in New York, in Resolute Support 'Green Zone' headquarters of Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017
US and NATO soldiers take part in a ceremony to commemorate the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center in New York, in Resolute Support 'Green Zone' headquarters of Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017 - Sputnik International
The UK government has announced plans to double the number of its troops in Afghanistan on the heels of a request to do so by US President Donald Trump in an effort to help reduce violence in the war ravaged nation. To find out how effective the deployment is likely to be, Sputnik spoke to Afghan Journalist, Ali Latifi.

Sputnik: So the UK government is to almost double the number of troops it has in Afghanistan, essentially at the request of US President Donald Trump – what, would you say, is the purpose of this, is it just to appease Trump or is there indeed a genuine need for the troops?

Ali Latifi: It’s not necessarily that there isn’t a genuine need. But I think the question sort of begs, there have been so many troops going in and out at different levels for the last seventeen years, and the fact that they’re still needed to come back four years after their withdrawal raises a lot of questions about the effectiveness about what they have done in the thirteen years they were here and what they plan to achieve suddenly this year.

British Army officers from Operational Mentoring Liaison Training (OMLT) company train Afghan National Army or ANA, soldiers in firearms, near Camp Bastion, southern Afghanistan, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2007. - Sputnik International
Okay, Trump! UK to Almost Double Number of Troops Deployed in Afghanistan
Sputnik: There are those, of course, who say that with the recent spike in suicide bombings across the country, and an increase in the civilian death toll, NATO-sponsored training programmes are clearly not effective enough, and perhaps what needs to happen, along with the Afghan government, is for the US to start engaging in peace negotiations with the Taliban to reduce violence, what would you say to that?

Ali Latifi: I mean it’s become very clear. Everyone in the country you know foreign officials have said the same thing, that there is no military solution to this war and that there has to be a political settlement. It’s become an even more complex playing field with foreign actors supporting the Taliban and at some point, its been 17 years, and as I said before there have been different levels of troop numbers here back and forth from different countries, and we’re still in a situation where violence exists, where civilian casualties are up, and the economy has not rebounded the way it should have.

Security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack outside a Shiite mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 - Sputnik International
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Sputnik: So why is it that despite the ongoing training missions by NATO, as well as its combat presence and allies in the Afghan forces, the Taliban seems to be making so much ground?

Ali Latifi: It’s not necessarily that they’re making more ground, it’s just that they’re putting up a fight. And it’s not a question of whether we will ever return to 1996, that’s highly unlikely, to the point where the Taliban will take over the entire country, that doesn’t exist anymore, that possibility. But they’re really trying to test all of the forces here and as I said before there are new players in the game supporting the Taliban, and its becoming more difficult. And at the same time, you have the rise of groups claiming to be Daesh*.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

*Daesh (also known as ISIS, ISIL, Islamic State) — a terror group banned in Russia.

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