Press TV / January 30, 2016
Washington has been a “willing participant” in regional decisions that led to a resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the continued US military presence is impeding peace in the country, says an international lawyer and political analyst.
“Whatever other nations may think of the Taliban ethos, the only way forward is to encourage a multilateral dialogue among those states and stake-holders in the region which are directly affected,” Barry Grossman said in an interview with Press TV on Saturday.
“Instead of ramping up its military presence in Afghanistan, the US needs to butt out and encourage an entirely regional political process unfold, while taking steps to stop the flow of money and improper influence from [Persian] Gulf states in Afghanistan,” he continued.
A US government watchdog has reported that the Taliban militant group is now stronger than at any time since the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) made the assessment in its quarterly report to Congress that was published Friday.
Pakistan’s dangerous game
Grossman said that “the US was entirely unable or unwilling to prevent Pakistan’s security apparatus from corruptly helping Mullah Mansour consolidate control of the Taliban leadership.”
“Pakistan is of course playing a dangerous game by encouraging the Taliban to take the fight to the puppet regime in Afghanistan in order to discourage Taliban elements in Pakistan’s tribal areas from focusing their outrage on Pakistan’s government,” he added.
“Clearly Mansour’s consolidation of power brought a resurgence of Taliban power and — bearing in mind the support he has received from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency which some observers see as a branch office of the CIA — it would be naive to imagine that the US was not a willing participant in the decisions which have seen a resurgence of Taliban power under his leadership,” the analyst noted.
US must pack up and leave
Grossman argued that if peace is indeed the priority in Afghanistan, the US should wind down its military presence and take steps to rein in those Middle East allies that support the Taliban.
“How quickly we have forgotten that the US-led invasion of Afghanistan was justified as an operation to eliminate Afghanistan as a safe haven for Osama bin Laden,” the former leader of al-Qaeda, he said.
“Ironically, in the process of eliminating bin Laden, al-Qaeda, which did not exist as anything that could properly be called an organization in 2001, evolved into a genuine, full-blown threat for a number of years — encouraged by the US carpet-bombing of Iraq,” he noted.
Leaving more difficult than arriving
“With the US-led alliance having long ago achieved their stated objective for invading Afghanistan, there is little or no reason for their continued presence in a nation which largely rejects them,” Grossman said. “Moreover, having largely destroyed Afghanistan’s political structures and replaced them with a system which thrives on corruption, leaving has proved to be a lot more difficult than arriving.”
Despite a previous pledge to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016, President Barack Obama has announced plans to keep 5,500 of the troops in the country when he leaves office in 2017.