“Look, India is right there. They are not fighting it. We are fighting it,” Donald Trump complained to reporters on Wednesday. “Pakistan is right next door. They are fighting it very little. Very, very little. It’s not fair. The United States is 7,000 miles away.”
“At a certain point Russia, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, they are going to have to fight their battles too,” the president continued in response to a question about the alleged reemergence of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terror groups in Afghanistan. While he did not explain how the war that began nearly two decades ago when the US invaded Afghanistan had become its neighbors’ battle to fight, he hinted that it could easily become a problem for them if they didn’t help keep the terrorists in check.
“All of these other countries where ISIS is around…all of these are going to have to fight,” he warned. The US would not spend “another 19 years” in what is already the longest war in its history.
Trump incongruously took the opportunity to pat himself on the back for “destroying ISIS 100 percent,” suggesting that at least those other countries will have little to do to maintain order – though Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insists the decimated terror group is “gaining strength” now that Trump has raised the possibility of pulling out of the region.
With India and Pakistan already occupied with the tensions in Kashmir, and Russia – which actually did the work of defeating IS (often reinforced by the US-backed “moderate rebels”) – most likely uninterested in wading back into a quagmire it exited decades ago, it’s unclear who among the countries Trump addressed might take him up on his offer to share the clean-up job in Afghanistan.
Iran is already suffering from a “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign, and Washington considers it to be a “terrorist regime” anyway. Iraq barred US planes from its airspace on Wednesday after an alleged Israeli airstrike on Baghdad, while Turkey is facing sanctions for choosing Russian missile defense systems over a notoriously troubled US fighter jet.
While Trump has periodically floated a total withdrawal from Afghanistan, he suggested on Tuesday that he would leave “somebody there” to ensure the Taliban did not take over – though the Taliban already holds more than half the country, despite trillions of dollars poured into the war since 2001.
(Source: Russia Today)