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New Afghan Strategy

30/7/18

Donald Trump has ordered a new strategy in Afghanistan. American backed forces to leave rural areas to instead focus on developing cities, mainly Kabul. The justification for the strategy is that there will be less direct battles between the Afghan National Army and the Taliban. This will allow each side to focus on improving the lives of civilians and potentially lead to more ceasefires which will be key to showing both sides that peace will work.


However many citizens in rural areas might feel betrayed by the Afghan Government and this could boost support of the Taliban. It will also allow the Taliban to move fighters, munitions and opium more freely around the country. This will allow for significantly more effective attacks against Afghan and Western forces and an increase in revenue from the opium trade.


At the same time after 17 years of bloodshed, the war has reached a stalemate. Despite billions of dollars being poured into Afghan Security forces, they have proved to be ineffective and corrupt especially when spread thinly over large parts of the countryside. There are only about 15,000 US soldiers in Afghanistan who are isolated in rural bases throughout the country. After the deaths of US soldiers in Niger who were the target of a much larger force,

Trump will want to avoid any more avoidable US casualties by concentrating them together.


This could also be a step towards removing all US soldiers should peace talks fail as if the Afghan National Army can provide stability to Kabul the US could start to pull back troops without being seen to abandon Afghanistan. It will also allow the Afghan National Army to slowly grow their area of operations at a sustainable speed.