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.
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.
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*.
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*Daesh (also known as ISIS, ISIL, Islamic State) — a terror group banned in Russia.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.