Trump said on Tuesday that the consequences of rapid withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan are "unacceptable," as it will create a "vacuum" that will be filled by Daesh and al-Qaeda terrorist groups, adding that the number of US troops involved in operations in the country wouldn’t be released.
"The consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable. 9/11, the worst terrorist attack in our history, was planned and directed from Afghanistan because that country was ruled by a government that gave comfort and shelter to terrorists. A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS [Daesh] and al-Qaeda, would instantly fill, just as happened before September 11th," Trump said during a press conference in Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia, presenting a new integrated strategy for the US approach to South Asia.
Russian expert Sinelnikov-Orishak said that it seems that Trump missed very important facts when developing the Afghanistan strategy.
"One of the US goals [in the past] was the fight against al-Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden. Who were al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, if not terrorists? Thus, the statement saying that ‘we don’t know what we were doing,’ and now finally decided to fight terrorists, to put it mildly, puts Trump in a silly position and shows that he has little understanding of the region. This was evident when he [Trump] ordered to launch the super powerful bomb [dubbed Mother of All Bombs (MOAB)] in Afghanistan. He does not understand how strange it looks. In the 17th year of the war in the country, the most advanced state of the planet uses this bomb," Sinelnikov-Orishak told Radio Sputnik.
"The structure of the [US] forces that are involved is very interesting. One of the tricks is that in Afghanistan, representatives of private military companies are successfully operating; and their losses are not included in the losses of the Pentagon. Thus, all difficult operations are conducted by the private military companies. Thus, the US official losses seem to be small. Private companies know that they are used as cannon fodder, but they also want to live, so they open fire on everything that moves," the expert claimed.
According to Sinelnikov-Orishak, there is an explanation for the statement.
"If the Americans promise to contribute to something, rather than bomb their [Afghan] weddings, then we should already thank for at least the intention itself. Secondly, it is interesting what the Taliban [terrorists] will say. When they recently sent a message to the US president, they clearly said: As long as the troops are here, there will be no talks with you, and, apparently, the Americans do not plan to leave. Trump's statements give the impression that the Americans will stay there for his [the US president’s] full term," Mikhail Sinelnikov-Orishak concluded.
Trump's strategy in Afghanistan has been welcomed by many US allies, however, former Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai said earlier this week that he opposes the plan as it is "against the country's national interests." He said increased presence of private US contractors on the Afghan soil breached the national sovereignty and constitution and would lead to a drawn-out conflict and more bloodshed.
The United States and its allies launched a military operation in Afghanistan in 2001 following the 9/11 terror attacks. The mission in Afghanistan ended on December 28, 2014. On January 1, 2015, NATO announced its new mission in the country, called Resolute Support, to train and assist Afghan security forces. Some 8,400 to 9,800 US troops are currently based in Afghanistan with an additional 5,000 NATO forces.
According to official Pentagon data up until August 21, 2017, the United States had lost 2,244 servicemen and civilian specialists killed in Afghanistan over the past years; over 20,000 were wounded.