In his article published on Washington Post, Ronald E. Neumann has said: “U.S. strategy in Afghanistan has been to train an Afghan army that can fight al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and now the Islamic State and then largely to withdraw.”
“After 16 years, it’s not surprising that many people think that strategy has failed. In fact, it hasn’t really been tried,” Neumann said who was ambassador to Afghanistan from 2005 to 2007.
He has stated that Obama administration “not only didn’t execute its own strategy, it also “only grudgingly provided the resources necessary to avoid outright failure.”
The former U.S. envoy believes the decision to end U.S. involvement in active combat by 2014 has caused the Taliban to reinforce and expand their scale of attacks in Afghanistan.
“The Obama administration declared that we are no longer at war with the Taliban.” This nonsensical phrase, which I heard from senior officials at the National Security Council, left the Taliban free, except in the most extreme circumstances, to reinforce, maneuver and mass for attacks,” Neumann said.
Following the issue, he has also criticized the Afghan government for “allowing politics to intrude much too far into senior military appointments (something that is being reversed by President Ashraf Ghani’s appointment of battle-tested commanders).
“Even a great effort to correct the mistakes of the past would not produce results on the battlefield for a year or more. Whether this can or should be done deserves serious debate. But that discussion should be based on a clear understanding of what has and what has not already been tried in Afghanistan,” Neumann concluded.
This comes as the Trump administration is due to announce new Afghan strategy to break “stalemate” with the Taliban in the war-torn country.