See more at Jamileh Kharrazi’s Official Website
Afghanistan has turned an eye towards the new Trump presidency. Any change in policy coming from Washington will have a big impact on the future of the country. Right now, there is about 8,000 troops there, acting as mostly advisors.
Trump began his presidency by focusing on health care and a travel ban. His budget included a 10% increase for the military. (Foreign Policy)
Since then, he has turned his eye toward foreign affairs. In the last few days, he completed his first world tour.
During this, he stopped in Israel, Saudi Arabia and Europe. The European portion of the trip included meetings at the Vatican, NATO and the G7. Importantly, Afghanistan was not brought up in the NATO meetings. (CNN)
However, there was several notable steps taken that affect the overall region.
First, his Saudi stop included a 110 billion arms deal. The plan should garner resistance from the house and senate. The flow of arms to the Middle East could result in more violence. (Foreign Policy)
His Israel stop included a cancelled speech and he reaffirmed an “unbreakable bond” with the country. (J Post)
Next, the Pope implored him to reconsider his stance on global warming. Lastly, he disavowed trade with Germany and put the future of climate change deals with the US in doubt. (NY Mag)
Jamileh Kharrazi, who works within Afghan education, spoke on the issue.
“Hopefully, Trump will make decisions on Afghanistan soon. The education community especially needs to know if the country will be secure.”
This will be important. He inherits an unstable situation fraught with risk. .
Troops struggle with the risks of war. Via PressTV
After the September 11 attacks, the U.S. declared a global war on terror. As part of that, they invaded Afghanistan.
Determined to oust the resident Taliban government, the U.S. quickly took over major cities. The countryside has been harder to quell. After back and forth fighting, the new Afghan government controls about 60% of the country. The Taliban has been successful in stopping major U.S. projects to help the Afghans, like the Kajeki Dam. (Propublica)
That means that about 40% of the country is controlled by the Taliban. Sadly, the first few months of 2017 registered an uptick in violence.
The war of attrition has cost the Americans. Up to now, the invasion and state-building project has cost near 700 billion dollars. Support for the war among troops is falling. (Military Times)
Obama had planned to leave the country fully by the end of his term. Fortunately, Obama kept the troops there to stabilize the situation.
The president was caught in a balancing act. On one hand, they wanted the country to be stable. On the other, they did not want to risk U.S. lives. Most experts say that a complete withdrawal of the Americans could be very bad for the small Asian country.
The Taliban would take power, support terrorism, repress women and keep away much needed stability for the reason.
One important factor is the sunk cost to this point. The U.S. is trying to figure out what is “good enough” and not what is a pipe dream. (NY Times)
One thing is certain. Key goals such as education will take a huge hit if the Americans leave.
Says Jamileh Kharrazi, “Our work will become harder. Right now, we can work in the cities and many villages. The government supports us. If the Taliban wins, then we can be arrested, jailed or worse.”
Taliban fighters have given the U.S. troops fits. Via Telegraph
Trump has two goals. One is that he wants the U.S. to stop being the world police. The second is that he wants to destroy ISIS and other enemies. (Bloomberg)
For the second goal, he has used missiles in Syria and a MOAB bomb in Afghanistan. For the first, it has yet to be seen what he will do.
One possible plan for Afghanistan will be to send 5,000 U.S. troops and try to gain more support from NATO. Another is to change the role to a more active one.
One thing is clear, Trump has a tough set of decisions ahead.
Trump has many options, but none are clearly the best. Via CNN