Afghanistan: The General
Last year, US President Donald Trump announced a “new” strategy for his country’s forces in Afghanistan.
The plan involved reversing his predecessor’s phased withdrawal, bumping up the number of US troops to as many as 15,000, and giving new authority to US commanders to strike the Taliban in an effort to force the group to eventually negotiate a truce with the Afghan government.
But almost 17 years since the original US-led invasion, there are no signs that this approach is proving any more successful than those that have gone before it.
Indeed, a string of brutal attacks over the past few months, killing and injuring hundreds of innocent Afghans, have shown the stark reality of the fragile and worsening state of security in Afghanistan. It’s made even worse by the increasingly bloody contribution of Daesh (or ISIS-K as it’s known locally) to the fray.
General John Nicholson is the man charged with implementing Trump’s strategy. He is the “Four Star” controlling Resolute Support and counter-terrorism in the region, and after his appeals to the US Senate for more troops, fresh boots on the ground began arriving in 2017.
But under his watch the general has also seen an emboldened insurgency take control of large parts of the country and launch attacks seemingly at will.
People & Power sent correspondent Sue Turton to meet the general now in overall charge of foreign forces in Afghanistan to ask whether and how this bloody and interminable conflict can ever be brought to an end.
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