The US is looking into the potential role of India and its neighbours in bringing stability to Afghanistan, a top American intelligence official has said, underlining that the Trump administration continues to review its policies in the war-torn country. In response to a queestion on the reasons for which the US is in Afghanistan for nearly 17 years now, US Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said poicymakers are assiduously working on it. “We’ve been there, what, 16, 17 years. But the history goes back before that. The president has raised, I think, legitimate questions on that very question,” he said in response to a question, if the Trump administration is looking at a stalemate. “And that is being worked through assiduously by the policymakers with our constant provision of information relative not just to Afghanistan, but relative to South Asia as a whole, because we’re talking here about Pakistan, we’re talking about India, we’re talking about the South Asia region, which also brings China into the play, given their interest in expanding their sphere of influence, and it’s complicated and it’s difficult,” Coats said.
“Decisions have to be made that haven’t been made yet relative to what the US response should be, given the situation as it now exists,” Coats said, adding that he and his team has spent a lot of time trying to really provide the very best intelligence they have about stability of the Afghanistan government at this point. This also includes, he said “the capacity of the defence forces, the role of the Taliban, the role of terrorist groups that are doing things into Pakistan, potential role of what India could do.
The process is still going. A conclusion has not yet been reached,” Coats said. Concerned over the current stalemate in Afghanistan, the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, headed by Senator John McCain, last week said the US should leverage the capabilities of allies and partners to more effectively secure regional stability and security in Afghanistan. In a report attached along with the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2018, the committee had said it believes that India, as a regional partner to Afghanistan and a major defence partner of the US, is well-suited to assist Afghanistan Government to improve the security of the country and the broader region, and can work on a trilateral basis with the US and Afghanistan to do so.