The commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan says the Trump administration’s strategy for the war-torn country is yielding progress, despite no significant changes on the battlefield and several deadly Taliban attacks.
According to VoA, U.S. Army Gen. John Nicholson said, “I believe the strategy is working.”
Nicholson said this approach on the battlefield “has affected the enemy’s calculus” and pushed them toward reconciliation.
He said the Taliban now has the incentive to negotiate because the coalition has “clearly communicated” that they are not leaving, pointing to two peace offers and a cease-fire as evidence of the progress.
From 2017 to 2018, Taliban control of the Afghan population has grown slightly from 9 percent to 12 percent, with about a quarter of the population living in areas contested by the Taliban and the Afghan government, according to the latest data from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.
Nicholson said the lack of change with respect to the Afghan government’s population control has been predicated on what he called the Afghan military’s “works in progress,” namely the growth in the number of Afghan commandos and the growth in the Afghan air force.
In the meantime, Afghan officials emphasized that the U.S. strategy toward Afghanistan is under review.
“The U.S. strategy toward Afghanistan was very effective from our perspective. The strategy will be reviewed after the new NATO commander come to Afghanistan,” Wais Ahmad Barmak, the interior minister asserted.
Strengthening the Afghan military troops, finding a political solution for the US long war in Afghanistan and pressure on Pakistan to persuade the country stop supporting terrorism are the main targets of President Trump strategy toward Afghanistan.