Mattis visit to Kabul
The US Defense Secretary James Mattis visited Kabul along with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to discuss the broad parameter of President Trump Afghan Policy with Afghan leadership which gives more weight to military option. On 22nd August in his prime time address to a crowed of Us troops he vowed we will fight on to win in Afghanistan. Unfolding his plan for Afghanistan President Trump gave no timeline for exit. However, in a joint press conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Stoltenberg, the US Defense Secretary urged Taliban to participate in a peace process and forget about anticipating victory on the war front.
Afghan President also corroborated the stance of James Mattis and said the Taliban now have to choose between continuing to serve international terrorism or to take part for peace and reconstruction of the country. He said that Afghan security forces were getting stronger but an Intra-Afghan peace and internal dialogue remains a priority of his administration. The NATO Secretary General said that there is much the Taliban can gain around the negotiated table.
Although Afghan President and NATO Secretary General held an olive branch to Taliban yet the President Trump administration is keen to pursue the military option. During his visit of New Delihi, the US Defense Secretary discussed with his Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman the possibility of inducting troops of India. That is why Indian Defense Minister has categorically said that there should be no boots in Afghanistan and ruled out India’s military presence there. Russia hosted a twelve party peace conference on Afghanistan in Moscow in April, 2017 to which the United States was also invited to participate but Trump administration decided to skip out of Afghan-Taliban Conference. The regional countries are worried about the spillover effect of Daesh as the continuity of protracted warfare is making this terrorist outfit stronger. The use of mighty military force has failed to subdue Taliban over the past sixteen year. Hence, it is worthwhile that the United States back a regional peace initiative for the resolution of Afghanistan issue which is vital for peace and stability of this region.