Retired U.S. Army colonel and former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, Colonel Lawrence B. Larry Wilkerson, has said the United States might stay for over 50 years in Afghanistan. Tolo News quoted Wilkerson as saying in an interview that the United States might stay for over 50 years in Afghanistan, because according to its strategic location, Afghanistan is the only place from where the US can take action against Russia and China. Wilkerson also warned over the possible fight between the world and region super-power countries in Afghanistan. “What we have seen right now is a begging of the new great game that it involves China, it involves Russia, it involves the United States and it involves all those people who get in the way in Central Asia. The United States will probably be in Afghanistan, I have said repeatedly, for the next fifty plus years. Because it is the only place geographically speaking in that region from which the United State with high military power can affect China’s …One Belt One Road…,” said Wilkerson.
Earlier, United States President Trump, while giving an address at the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, a U.S. military base adjacent to the Arlington National Cemetery, proclaimed the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan, saying that the objectives will include “obliterating ISIS” and “preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan.” Trump made it clear that he would not announce dates of military operations in advance and went on to say that he would not discuss troop levels or further plans for military activities. “I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will,” Trump said.
Trump further said that to achieve these goals, he would expand the authority for the U.S. to target criminal and terrorist networks in Afghanistan. He also said, “Afghan will secure and build their own nation and define their own future. We want them to succeed. But we will no longer use the American military to construct democracies in faraway lands or try to rebuild other country in our own image.” Trump further said, “Those days are now over,” adding that America will instead work with allies and partners to protect their “shared interests”.
Trump also said that a rapid withdrawal from Afghanistan is not feasible, pointing to the lessons the U.S. learned from Iraq. “The consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable,” Trump said. “We cannot repeat in Afghanistan the mistake we made in Iraq.” Pointing out to the presence of terrorists in Afghanistan, Trump said, “They are nothing but thugs and criminals and predators and, that’s right, losers.”
Trump’s decision came, when Taliban militants have been resurgent in recent months, posting a series of recent gains against Afghan government forces, which are backed by a US-led coalition of NATO allies. About 8,400 U.S. troops are currently deployed in Afghanistan. The majority of about 6,900 are assigned to the NATO mission to train and advise Afghan security forces alongside approximately 6,000 troops from other NATO countries.