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Afghanistan's Latest US Strategy Reflects Past Retreat Plans



In 2015, the Obama administration encouraged Afghan commanders to give up defense of some of the most remote checkpoints and outposts that were considered difficult to reclaim and hold. General Nicholson supported the idea after taking command in 2016, the official said.

Should the Afghan forces withdraw now, the defense of the remote areas of the country would be largely left to local police, who are less educated than the military and much more vulnerable to Taliban violence. In some areas, police have entered into agreements with the Taliban to protect themselves against attacks.

Ghulam Sarwar Haidari, former deputy chief of police in the northwestern province of Badghis, said his troops have withdrawn from the small town of Dara-e-bom. The Afghan army has abandoned its outposts in recent months. "We should lose 1

00 lives to recapture this area," he said.

Not all of the approximately 14,000 US troops currently stationed in Afghanistan have returned to the cities. Some who train and advise Afghan troops as part of Trump's war strategy are based at bases in remote areas and smaller towns.

Mr. Trump has long ended the war in Afghanistan and reluctantly accepted the advice of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to send another 4,000 troops to claim victory.

The Trump administration also instructs top American diplomats to seek direct talks with the US Taliban to resume negotiations to end the war, and two senior Taliban officials said on Saturday that such talks took place in Qatar a week ago have. If they do, the negotiations would be a major change in US policy and serve as a bridge to a possible withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.

Evan McAllister, a former sergeant and scout of the Reconnaissance Navy, fought in parts of Helmand province in 2008 and 2011 – areas that are now almost entirely under the control of the Taliban. He said the attempt to maintain an Afghan pro-government presence in rural areas was and still is an idiot.

"Attempting to control rural areas in Afghanistan always ends in simple personal survival," McAllister said. "No strategic achievements are achieved, no population is affected, but the death or dismemberment of American and Afghan troops is permanent and guaranteed."


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