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Gandhara Podcast: Trump’s New Afghanistan, South Asia Strategy


Afghan soldiers take positions in restive Achin district in the eastern Nangarhar province on August 18. Afghan and U.S. forces are engaged in an operation against the Islamic State militants in August.

The new U.S. "strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia" is being debated in the country and around the globe after President Donald Trump laid it out late on August 21.

The strategy commits to an open-ended counterterrorism effort by declaring, “We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists” while skirting any details on deadlines, tactics, and troop numbers.

The strategy singles out Pakistan for “housing the very terrorists that we are fighting.” It also calls on its archrival India to help with “assistance and development” in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has welcomed the strategy, which links Washington’s assistance to “real reforms, real progress, and real results.”

To discuss this issue, we turned to Omar Samad, a former Afghan ambassador to France and Canada. Shahmahmood Miakhel, the country director of the United States Institute of Peace for Afghanistan, joined our discussion from Kabul. I contributed from Prague while my colleague Muhammad Tahir, RFE/RL’s media relations manager, moderated our discussion from Washington.

Listen to or download the Gandhara Podcast:

The views expressed in this podcast do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

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