The Trump administration’s plan for Afghanistan as well as their policy toward Pakistan is taking “longer than originally announced and intended,” said Laurel Miller, the former U.S. envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Miller said to the media that, “there are no easy answers, there are no easy solutions. After 16 years, a lot of different approaches have been tried or at least considered,” this week in an interview with Voice of America (VOA). She added that President Trump and his security team may be finding that they need more time to establish a new way forward, she said.
News reports yesterday were stating that Trump was extremely disappointed in both the lack of a plan and the conduct of the General John Nicolson the commander in charge of the troops in Afghanistan and was actively considering having him replaced.
Miller, a Rand corporation foreign policy expert, served as the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, or SRAP, for nine months, until June 23 of this year.
The idea of replacing military troops and government employees with a team of private contractors wouldn’t be practical, Miller said. For one thing, she said, it’s unlikely that the Kabul government would accept the idea.
Additionally, there are legal issues regarding what contractors can and can’t do for the U.S. government, while hiring companies to do the government’s work often isn’t cost effective. But her key concern is that bringing in contractors wouldn’t necessarily bring new success.
Simply reducing the number of troops in Afghanistan would only be effective if done gradually Miller said. The coalition will have to support the stability of the of the Afghan government, the economy will have to be fixed. Simply withdrawing the troops now and leaving the Afghans to weather the storm alone will simply result in chaos. And it sends an all-too-familiar message in the region that the US will not see issues through, which will weaken the US image for other countries and potential allies.
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