Trump is considering, apparently, the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan

Marsha Scott
January 6, 2019

The US president on Wednesday took a swipe at what he claimed were Modi's frequent comments on building the library: "You know what that is?"

Graham also said cutting U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan would leave "too few to accomplish the mission of holding Afghanistan together and protecting America from another attack". We are supposed to say, 'Oh, thank you for the library.' Don't know who's using it (the library) in Afghanistan. Trump's dismissal of India's soft power as a component of its foreign policy toolbox in Afghanistan is not unusual; it is reflective of his essentially transactional view of India's relationship with the United States. But it's one of those things. "For that reason, we have asked the United States to provide clarification regarding some statements, through diplomatic channels about certain policies, and we hope this will be shared with us in the near future", the Presidential Palace (ARG) said in a statement on Thursday.

The US President underscored that his administration has initiated peace talks with the Taliban.

In opinion pieces published in The New York Times and The American Conservative magazine, they also proposed including Iran and Chinaamong the countries that should ensure Afghanistan's security.

This offer to meet with the new government in Pakistan is a breakaway from Trump's negative tone adopted around a year ago that he was cutting off security related aid to Pakistan because it was providing "a safe haven to terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help".

Sources said India's partnership with Afghanistan was built on the specific requirements worked out with the Afghan government. He said, "Why is not Russian Federation there (in Afghanistan, fighting the Taliban)?"

It is Trump's unfathomable inability to distinguish facts from fiction which has prompted him to target the Narendra Modi government's contribution in Afghanistan.

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Reacting sharply to Trump's crack at Modi, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said India has been doing enormous development work in Afghanistan for which the people of the war-ravaged country "thank us, no matter what others do or don't".

Later when a question was put to the Foreign Office spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal, he responded, "We support Trump's remarks, and are now assessing developments in the bilateral relationship". Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the staunchest advocate of United States military presence in Syria and Afghanistan, also said this week that he too understood the need for recalling the troops but he wanted "a slow and gradual" withdrawal.

According to news reports, "India firmly believes in the critical role that developmental assistance can play in transforming human lives".

India has tried to be in the room when the Afghan peace process is discussed in multilateral fora.

Inaugurating the Afghan parliament building in 2015 after reconstruction financed by India, Modi promised to promote programmes "empowering Afghan youth with modern education and professional skills".

It's not known whether Modi repeatedly did this on his regard or if he was advised to do so, but either way, the Indian government must have known that he was constantly bragging about this to Trump. Speaking on the occasion, former Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir said that no attention is paid towards social and economic development of Afghanis by all the stakeholders.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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