Trump looks to military members for new ideas on Afghanistan

Michele Moreno
July 23, 2017

With the Pentagon poised to announce details of a troop increase for the US mission in Afghanistan, the pending decision raises questions about the effect additional boots on the ground will have on the 16-year conflict.

Such certification is necessary in order to enable Pakistan to receive reimbursement of "Coalition Support Funds" for 2016.

In announcing the nomination, a White House statement said over the past decade the ambassador has supported "efforts to mobilize allies and marshal resources to combat terrorism and instability in Iraq, Syria and Southwest Asia".

The president's brief comments actually came after he was asked whether he would be sending troops to Afghanistan, where the United States has been since late 2001.

The Pentagon is withholding $50 million in funding for Pakistan after Defense Secretary James Mattis told Congress he will not certify that the country has done enough to fight the Haqqani Network.

Of the rest, $300 million had already been reprogrammed for other purposes, but had not been previously reported.

Even before Mattis arrived on the scene, the Pentagon also withheld $300 million in military reimbursements in 2016 under the leadership of then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.

The Haqqani Network is considered to be the most capable and violent branch of the Afghan Taliban.

In a recent tweet, former USA ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmey Khalilzad suggested targeting terrorists' safe sanctuaries in Pakistan.

The terror group is also blamed for several deadly attacks against Indian interests in Afghanistan, including the 2008 bombing of the Indian mission in Kabul that killed 58 people.

The US state department's "Country Report on Terrorism 2016" released on Wednesday also claimed that "Pakistan did not take sufficient action against other externally focused groups, such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) in 2016, which continued to operate, train, organise, and fundraise in Pakistan".

Military Financing Programme' for Pakistan may be made available unless the secretary of state certifies to the committees that Islamabad is taking action against terrorist groups.

Relations between the two countries have been frayed over the past decade, with U.S. officials frustrated by what they term Islamabad's unwillingness to act against terror groups such as the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network.

Pakistan has decried the report, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria saying Thursday that Pakistan has "taken indiscriminate and all out action against terrorists".

The war in Afghanistan received little attention on the campaign trail previous year, with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump focusing on the US -led coalition to defeat the terrorist group known as ISIS or ISIL.

Other reports by Insurance News

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