US President Donald Trump is in his last lap and he is contesting the US election results in the country’s Supreme Court. There is no clarity on whether Trump would continue to hold office or Joseph Biden will be sworn in on January 21, 2021.
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The biggest hurdle which tends to hog the US political landscape is the question of withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan, which Biden does not want. But, nevertheless, even in the Biden era, the US is all set to get to a permanent station in India, after BECA, through which it would provide real-time ‘intelligence and surveillance’ reports to India to meet the joint-threat to China and Pakistan.
Hence, whatever drama ensues in Afghanistan, there is but one surety; the US will remain in Afghanistan’s neighborhood if not inside it.
It is for the first time in the history of the US that its president has exposed the ‘ways and means’ of his own ‘deep state’ that is CIA, FBI and Pentagon, by insinuating that the Pentagon wants to keep the war contractors happy and does not want the US to disengage from Afghanistan.
He accused the US establishment of labeling all the deaths in the country as being victims in the COVID-19 category and even lambasted the killing of Osama Bin Laden as ‘fraud’ of the erstwhile Obama administration, which has been no doubt the biggest trophy for the US so far in the last 25 years.
Therefore, even if a change of guard takes place in the world’s most powerful country, and it abdicates Afghanistan, there have been enough signs that the incumbent Biden would decide to push the controversial security contractor ‘Blackwater’ (now called Academi) to stay put in Afghanistan, as that is what the advertisements ‘We Are Coming’, according to Military.Com on Jan 9, 2019, have suggested.
In order to shore up the late-term priorities, Trump after consultations over an attack on Iran, sent his point-man Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State to a seven-nation tour to the European countries, along with the Middle East. Pompeo made his first halt at Doha, Qatar, on November 22, 2020, to meet Afghan-Taliban (AT) head of political office Mullah Baradar, as a mark of proof about the US commitment over its withdrawal from Afghanistan.
After the latest move, the US would be left with only 2500 of its soldiers in the war-torn nation and they too are slated to return by mid-2021. Trump had already once accorded that AT are ‘very tough people’.
As quite understood, a great war game has been played in anticipation of the US ‘moving out’ with Ashraf Ghani government at the helm and AT all set to take over, as a consensus over it seems much far to arrive. Ghani wants to keep the ‘intelligence’ department under his thumb, which AT finds otherwise apart from other blocks too.
Pakistan PM Imran Khan dashed to Kabul on November 19, 2020, where Pakistan’s national song was also played as a mark of protocol, perhaps for the first time in the last two decades. This is his maiden visit to Afghanistan and a strategic message that he is visiting Ghani when Ghani’s government is ‘only a matter of days’.
While Imran Khan vowed to do everything for peace and stability, Ghani on his side might be quite handicapped as Daesh and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) may ‘unleash it all’ inside Afghanistan, as well as in Pakistan. The indications came when Daesh fired 23 rockets inside Kabul, which ironically, happened just when the meeting between Pompeo and Mullah Baradar was underway.
The events are surely leading towards a grim scenario where Afghanistan would be a dueling-battleground even when Ghani bows out for AT to take over. The analysts were assuming as if Trump had made friends with AT, but diplomacy is the ‘art of the possible.’
And Pompeo while on his tour to Israel, on November 20, 2020, visited a Christian Zionist museum run by Mike Evans who has been extremely supportive of Trump during the polls.
Thus, making it clear that the destruction of the Muslim lands, whether it be Iraq or Afghanistan, is what interests the US policymakers while keeping the Jewish state of Israel, happy.
As for Pakistan, it lost around a hundred thousand of its forces fighting the US ‘war on terror’. Let’s see what happens after January 21, 2021, when a change of guard happens in the US or remains the same.
The writer is a former State Information Commissioner, India. He is a media analyst and writes on international affairs.