Afghanistan has agreed to carry out joint military actions against terrorist outfits with Pakistan, however, whether the Afghan government stays true to this promise or not, only time will tell. Intelligence agencies of the two countries had already signed a MoU on information sharing and conducting joint operation against common enemies in 2015. Accepting the idea of curtailing the activities of the militant groups with Pakistani assistance only came after a US delegation, headed by Senator John McCain, visited Kabul yesterday. The Pakistani government has made this suggestion countless times – the only way to get Afghanistan to play ball is if the US sanctions it.

It is encouraging that President Ashraf Ghani has realised (even if through suggestions by the US) that in order to win against terrorism, cooperation with Pakistan is key. A regional problem needs a regional solution and anyone looking for answers elsewhere is only harming the efforts against terrorism in the area.

It has become clear that the deputation made visits to Pakistan and Afghanistan to update the Trump Administration on the Afghan situation. With the US government looking to review its Afghan policy mid-July this year, the aforementioned visits will play a major role in shaping US policy for the region.

Speculation is rife with regards to the future of the Afghan conundrum – some experts believe that the US will look to increase military presence by at least 4000 (in addition to the 8600 already stationed). But whether additional troops will be used for more involvement through direct engagement, or if the numbers will only be used to supplement training and security for US assets in the country is anyone’s guess at this point.

Would this approach change the equation in favour of US? Unfortunately, the answer is no, for when there were more than a hundred thousand foreign troops on the ground in Afghanistan, the Taliban still fought them. An increase in the number of troops means a return to Bush’s policy and its failure is evidence of the redundancy of this policy.

The United States will be committing a mistake by increasing the number of soldiers to counter militancy in Afghanistan. A fact that Americans never want to admit is that it’s not only religious militants who are fighting them. It is also a Pashtun resistance movement, though one can say that religion is a mobilising factor. So, the need to track down common enemies and negotiate with those who are resisting occupation is paramount. Also, to avoid further instability and chaos in the region, complete withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan is necessary. Only a regional solution, where China, Russia, Pakistan and Iran ensure the development and security of Afghanistan, will work.