Donald Trump’s lack of understanding of the tension between India and Pakistan risks destabilising the region

Trump’s speech, which asked India to ‘help more’ with Afghanistan, amounted to calling for calm while also setting the house on fire

If Donald Trump had read this anecdote from a book by a formerBritish Army Officer, the Afghan strategy he laid out on Monday might have been different.

In 2011, an American general in Helmand –a province in southern Afghanistan – brought together a group of village elders to win them over to the coalition cause. After the elders voiced their concerns, it was time for him to respond. He stood up and said: “Over the last thirty years, Afghanistan has been plagued by terrorists and Mujahedin… I am here to clear them from the country.”

At this point the mood in the room changed and a frenzied chatter broke out. Why?

Many of the village elders, the very people the general was so keen to win over, were the ex-Mujahedin. A similar ignorance of local dynamics was on display again in Trump’s speech.


Categories: Afghanistan, Asia, India, Pakistan

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