Trump promised to win the war and authorized the dispatch of 4000 additional troops to the landlocked nation, with 1000 of them reportedly getting ready for deployment by this spring in order to "advise and assist" their Afghan counterparts. This announcement hasn't deterred the Taliban or Daesh, both of whom are designated as terrorist groups by Russia, from carrying out more attacks, as they almost seem determined to taunt the US judging by their spree of attacks over the past two weeks.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for besieging Kabul's InterContinental Hotel and exploding an ambulance bomb in the capital that claimed over one hundred lives, while Daesh killed workers from the Save The Children NGO in Jalalabad and recently stormed the Kabul Military Academy. Afghans have been shocked by the audacity of these attacks, all of which seemed designed to send the message that nobody is safe in the country no matter where they are, potentially contributing to the population's ever-growing distrust of their government and therefore undermining the US' war efforts. As is usually the case whenever these attacks occur, the Afghan authorities predictably blamed Pakistan for allegedly being behind them, and the US carried out a drone strike against the country in the aftermath of one of these incidents.
Islamabad, for its part, vehemently denies any complicity in these events and blasted its critics for failing to provide even a single shred of evidence backing up their claims. Moreover, Pakistan reminded the world that it has cleansed its border region of terrorists, but that Afghan refugees nevertheless pose serious security risks and should therefore be repatriated. Looking beyond the immediate aftermath of what happened, a glimmer of hope has appeared on the horizon in the form of the Tashkent Conference that's prospectively slated to take place in March to revive the Afghan peace process. Similar initiatives have taken place before, such as last year's three gatherings in Moscow, but no serious progress has yet been made in saving Afghanistan from becoming an even worse failed state than it already is.
Andrew Korybko is joined by Shahid Raza, Geopolitical analyst currently serving as the director of the geopolitical research project CommandEleven consulting in Islamabad, and Waqas Mahmood Dogar, Pakistani political commentator who writes for "The Nation" newspaper.
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