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Trump’s Afghan strategy implies attempts to address issues by military means — analyst

August 22, 2017, 19:00 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Analysts, however, do not rule out a political settlement

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© AP Photo/Evan Vucci

MOSCOW, August 22. /TASS/. US President Donald Trump’s new strategy in Afghanistan envisages attempts at dealing with the issue by military means, research fellow Aleksey Davydov, of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ institute of world economy and international relations IMEMO, told TASS on Tuesday.

"The US president has not presented any fundamentally new strategy in Afghanistan. He suggested just shifting the emphasis on a number of issues," Davydov said. "The US administration is for increasing the military potential of Afghan forces and the US contingent, in other words, for addressing the issue by military means."

At the same time the analyst did not rule out a political settlement.

"It’s anyone’s guess, though, when it will begin," he said. "Kabul’s talks with the Taliban have been postponed till the time when they will be negotiating from the position of strength."

Davydov said the economic aspect made the new strategy fundamentally different from the previous one. "Whereas before the United States and its allies provided funds for Afghanistan’s reconstruction, now the emphasis has been shifted towards India," Davydov said. "One can say that in this and other regions the United States follows the concept of so-called offshore balancing."

"As follows from the concept, part of the responsibility for this or that problem is placed on the shoulders of its allies in regions," he speculated. "In this particular case the solution of the economic problem is to be delegated to India. It is not accidental Trump has picked India for this role, because New Delhi is not very happy about China’s initiative One Belt - One Road, which lies through Afghanistan."

As he addressed the nation from Fort Myer, in Arlington, Trump declared the United States’ new strategy in Afghanistan. From now on Washington will not disclose the strength of its military contingent in Afghanistan or declare plans for beginning or ending military operations. The US troops will be focused on struggle against terrorism. The United States began a military operation in Afghanistan in the autumn of 2001.

Russian, US officials ready to discuss Afghanistan

About media reports Russian and US officials might meet in September to discuss Afghanistan Davydov recalled the Russian presidential representative for Afghanistan, director of the Foreign Ministry’s Asia Department, Zamir Kabulov, said the United States in Afghanistan had achieved nothing and must pull out.

Davydov believes that if this is Russia’s final position, then "evaluating the outlook for a dialogue between the two countries’ representatives is rather difficult even though they share common interests in the region."

"However, such a statement made by the special representative may prove the starting point for negotiations. If the diplomats’ meeting produces beneficial agreements, it may be eventually reconsidered and something more specific discussed and agreed on."

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