Trump’s New Afghan Strategy Aims to Spur Arms Sales

Trump’s New Afghan Strategy Aims to Spur Arms Sales
Trump’s New Afghan Strategy Aims to Spur Arms Sales

A lawmaker said the new Afghanistan strategy laid out by US President Donald Trump is aimed at prompting Islamabad to give concessions and buy more US weapons if it is to maintain its regional power.  

In a recent talk with ICANA, Mohammad Javad Abtahi added that the US is following a duplicitous policy in Afghanistan where Trump has gone back on his promises of withdrawing the US forces from Afghanistan by increasing their numbers.

"The surge in US forces in Afghanistan is aimed at involving Pakistan further into the war," he said.

Last week, Trump announced a wide-ranging new policy in Afghanistan and South Asia where he singled out Pakistan, saying that the South Asian nuclear power had been dishonest in its dealings with the US and needed to change its policies.

"We can no longer be silent about Pakistan's safe havens for terrorist organizations, the Taliban and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond," Trump said. "Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbor criminals and terrorists."

  Arms Deals

Abtahi said such remarks indicate that the US is trying to force Pakistan into signing more security and military contracts to offset the cost of the US 16-year Afghanistan war.

"Trump wants to sign lucrative arms deals with Pakistan," he said.

In the same vein, lawmaker Shahrouz Barzegar described Trump's fiery rhetoric against Pakistan as indications of "his insatiable appetite for selling arms", saying the US president wants to foot the bill of the Afghanistan war "out of Pakistan's pocket and Afghanistan's mineral reserves".

Abtahi also said the US has started a multifaceted game in Afghanistan, which would draw many regional countries, including India.

In his speech, Trump called on India to help US forces fighting in Afghanistan.

Nuclear-powered India, Pakistan's archrival and neighbor, has recently bought arms worth $2 billion from the US in what many analysts believe is part of a US plan to cast New Delhi as a significant power in the region so as to force other regional countries to increase their military spending.

Boosting India, which has also had its border skirmishes with China recently, and cutting the traditional military support given to Pakistan by the US would then force Islamabad to redress the balance by buying more US arms if it is going to remain on a par with India.

Abtahi believes this is the same tactic being played on the Saudis when they reportedly bought US arms worth $300 billion to stop Iran's increasing regional clout, which the Saudis interpret as a threat.


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