Pakistan is responsible for the turmoil in Afghanistan and is not helping the United States at all in countering the threat of the Taliban, said a retired US Air Force officer and defence expert. In an interview given to Fox News on a day when President Donald Trump visited the Pentagon for a security briefing on steps being taken to counter the ISIS and the Taliban, Retired US Air Force Lieutenant General and military analyst Thomas G. McInerney squarely held Pakistan responsible for the stalemated situation in Afghanistan.
When pointedly asked by the Fox News presenter as to why the United States has been achieving success in Syria and Iraq and not in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. (Retired) McInerney said, “One word, Pakistan, Pakistan for the last almost 16 years, has been supporting the Taliban. When they (Pakistan) said, when (President) George Bush said, ‘you are either with us or against us, they (Pakistan) said they are with us … Well, they have not been with us and we have to acknowledge that.” Lt. Gen.McInerney further said, “There are nine major cities in Balochistan that are raising money, supporting them (the terrorists) and recruiting, as well as their training areas. We have a major problem, because in the non-fighting season, in the winter time, they (terrorists) retreat back into into Pakistan.”
When asked why Washington continues to support Pakistan, and in fact be Islamabad’s pay masters as regards funding the fight against terror groups and extend support for neutralizing a real problem, Lt. Gen. McInerney cited two reasons: “The first being that Pakistan does not want a strong Afghanistan, where say India or others start working with them (Afghanistan) and outflank the Pakistanis. They are definitely afraid of that, and second, there is the Pakistan-China economic corridor that moves into the Middle East through Afghanistan.”
Lt. Gen. McInerney said there is a need for the United States to use its air power to target terrorist training areas in Pakistan, and added that there was also a need to take care of Pakistan first before deciding whether more American troops needed to be deployed in Afghanistan.
He further said that China is supporting Pakistan due to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. Last month, Defense Secretary James Mattis had said that the United States and its allies “are not winning” (the war) in Afghanistan.
In February, Army General John Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan, had said that more troops were needed as outside powers have increased their meddling in Afghanistan, making it tougher for the US-backed forces in Kabul to control the situation.
About 8,400 U.S. troops are currently stationed in Afghanistan in a train-and-assist capacity.