US Defense officials to brief Senate on Trump’s new Afghan Strategy


WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 (APP): US Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford will appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee today to brief lawmakers about President Trump’s new Afghan strategy which has left many questions unanswered, a media report said.
President Trump announced his strategy in August that also included the South Asian region as a whole, in addition to focusing on Afghanistan, and analysts have continued to discuss its impact on the peace and stability in the South Asian region. Among other things, President Trump made an oft-repeated statement about Pakistan’s alleged support to some extremist groups.
Pakistan has rejected allegation of harboring terrorists and has stressed time and again that it is targeting all terrorists without discrimination and extremist elements are on the run and have found refuge in neighboring Afghanistan.
The new US policy has evoked a strong reaction in Pakistan and many analysts fear a downturn in bilateral relations that they say is a bad omen for common goals of peace and stability in South Asia in general and in Afghanistan in particular.
The report in online magazine the Hill said, that during the today’s hearing, lawmakers would be pressing the Defense officials for more details about President Trump’s Afghanistan strategy.
The report pointed out many loopholes in the new Afghan strategy which many critics said were thin on details. For instance, the report said that the question remains unanswered as to how the strategy would avoid stoking conflict between Pakistan and India as the US seeks more Indian involvement in the war-torn Afghanistan.
Last month, two subpanels of Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee held a joint hearing on the fiscal 2018 budget request for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Speaking ahead of the hearing, Chairman of one of the subpanel, Senator Ted Yoho, said that tension in US security partnership with Pakistan present some of greatest foreign policy challenges faced by the Trump administration.
Prime Minister Shahid Kaqan Abbasi, who was in New York last month to attend the UN General Assembly, in an interview with the New York Times had stated that Pakistan was an active partner in the war on terror and has uprooted sanctuaries previously used by militants in the rugged border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
He had also stated that there was a perception in Pakistan that all its efforts against the menace of terrorism had been unappreciated by the United States.