In the frame of geopolitics, alignments and realignments of the states are the sole presentation in the world’s political dissertation with South Asian and Middle Eastern region being the pivotal area of focus in the international politics since centuries. Keeping in view, both the regions remained under the influence of state rivalries, political instability, terrorism and threats, for instance, from crude tactics of sole actors with strained coordinated attacks of chemical, biological and radioactive weapons. In the larger picture, the only way to counter this is through the prism of shared regional prosperity and connectivity towards peace and security and particularly Afghanistan and Syria. Both remained under the hotspot of continued conflicts, instability, insecurity, terrorism and under the engrossment of international powers.

The foreign policy of United States towards Middle East and South Asian region is rooted back to the decades old competition between the superpowers and they strive to expand its sphere of influence through direct involvement in the regions by backing the states economically, politically, militarily and by maintaining active diplomatic relations with continuous defense cooperation and construction and access rights to maintain their hegemony. The following factors are influencing the overall approach of United States towards these regions;

1.  The state of the economy of United States

2.  The consistent decline of United States influence over the region in the arena of international politics

3.  United States is consistently facing criticism over its policies towards the Middle East and South Asian region

4.  The emergence of new powers in the region as a significant external power

5.  Regional powers are influencing the outcomes of regional conflicts without the involvement of United States

These factors are creating hindrance in the interests of U.S. towards these regions to promote regional stability to safeguard the natural resources and protecting its key allies. However, the new emerging policies of U.S. under the President Donald Trump are in the spotlight of serious debate in terms of criticism and analysis. According to observers, it is considered as a new strategic shift towards these regions by U.S. decision of pulling out the troops from Afghanistan. The foreign policy doctrine of U.S. in President Trump’s approach to war and peace can be viewed in the framework from his past statements of putting America first. Approximately 7000 troops are expected to witness the withdrawal from Afghanistan after the immediate announcement by President Trumps of reducing troops.

This is an abrupt shift in almost 17 years old war and simultaneously, at the same time the decision has been made to withdraw forces from Syria as well. Moreover, according to political analysts, the American decision of pulling out forces from Afghanistan will create a new vacuum of political and economic instability, leaving Afghanistan more vulnerable to violence. Taliban will gain edge over the negotiating table and will affect the balance of power in the Asian region with the spillover effect on neighbouring countries, where the radical elements can strengthen their position again or possibilities that the Islamic State (Daesh) group regain their strength after being defeated which will have negative repercussions for Pakistan. However, it must be kept in mind that the U.S. proposal is not for a complete withdrawal, still they will keep a significant number of troops presence in Afghanistan. The response from the Taliban side is yet to be seen, but it is a fair assessment that the response will be negative.

Furthermore, in the strategic shift there are buzzes that U.S. will replace the U.S. military personnel’s with private paid contractors to fight for the United States, a plan proposed by Erik Prince founder of Blackwater. Although, there are already more defence contractors present in Afghanistan than U.S. military officials. One can assume that the new U.S. strategy over Afghanistan is a continued process towards privatisation of warfare in the region, which will allow opportunities for nepotism, corruption and human rights violation.

In the current scenario, Pakistan being the key U.S. ally has already paid a huge price in the war on terror with thousands of valiant Pakistani soldiers and innocent civilians have lost their lives and will be facing the spillover effect of United States withdrawal of forces. However, Pakistan is securing its border with Afghanistan by taking security measures and fencing the entire border but at the same time until the peace process restores, it possess burden of political turmoil and a new wave of insecurity over Afghans fleeing across the border.

After 17 years of United States led invasion which was to end the Taliban rule in the backdrop of 9/11 attacks supported by Allies and NATO members, led the U.S. into an unending conflict with the Taliban and contributed to the rise of terrorism in the region. It was the second longest U.S. led war after the Vietnam War but has failed to gain victory over Taliban even after long 17 years. Recently, the world is witnessing the sudden change in the American policy in a situation where United States and other responsible countries are having rounds of negotiations with Taliban for the peace and prosperity of the region. It is a sign that the U.S. is willing to acknowledge the political and military reality in Afghanistan which is known as a graveyard of superpowers such as, British rule, Soviet Union and now the United States. However, in the most recent talks held in UAE between the Taliban and the U.S. special peace envoy on peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan has demonstrated that the Afghan Taliban are in no hurry in the negotiations process and are still resistant to engage with the Afghan Government and are seeking the maximum concessions from the American side, for instance, prisoner releases and a clear withdrawal timetable of U.S. and NATO troops.

Pakistan is facing a hybrid war launched by the regional players to isolate the efforts of shared regional prosperity through economic and political connectivity but the world is finally realizing Pakistan’s decade old vision for Afghan peace which is through political solutions. Whereas, Pakistan is playing a challenging role in the peace process after the request of U.S. President Donald Trump to the Prime Minister of Pakistan for helping U.S. peace envoy to bring representatives of Taliban group representatives on the negotiations tables which held in UAE and Russia. The special representative of United States for the peace process, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad held a meeting with Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa to brief him on the talks and appreciated Pakistan’s efforts of encouraging the Taliban to negotiate directly with the Afghan Government and other senior political figures to reach towards the settlement for the end of the decades old unending war in Afghanistan.

In conclusion, the United States led war in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks was objected to eradicate the insurgent groups and Taliban’s but after the long unending fight of 17 years on the roughest terrain of Afghanistan, the U.S. faced another humiliating defeat with huge number of soldier causalities and financial losses but although U.S. has been able to install U.S. backed unstable government in Afghanistan.

On the other hand, Pakistan’s effective role and the U.S. announcement of withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan in the backdrop of current Afghan peace process is going towards right direction and with hopes one can assume that the current process of peace will be beneficial for the Afghan soil and its people.

The author is a Research Associate at the Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS), a think tank based in Islamabad, Pakistan. He holds a Master’s degree in Development Studies”.

According to political analysts, the American decision of pulling out forces from Afghanistan will create a new vacuum of political and economic instability, leaving Afghanistan more vulnerable to violence.