ISLAMABAD - President Ashraf Ghani-led unity government in Afghanistan has won another four-year bailout military aid package worth $5 billion from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to fight the raging Taliban insurgency in his country.
This hefty fund is meant to pay and clothe Afghan security forces while providing them with fuel, weapons and ammunition to fight the Taliban.
NATO made the pledge in a two-day crucial summit concluded on Saturday in Warsaw apparently comes after lot of criticism by the member states of rampant corruption in Afghan government and concerns that the aid could be siphoned off to Taliban.
This decision, according to the NATO, is very much about demonstrating western military alliance’s enduring and steadfast commitment to Afghanistan.
The US with the help of NATO invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and rooted out Taliban government on the basis of their alliance with Al-Qaeda accused of attacking the New York centre on 9-11-2001.
The US and its allies despite using all military means and might and utmost effort failed to quell the Taliban resistance since then.
Critics of the flawed US and NATO strategy and failure in restoring peace in the strife ridden Afghanistan over the past fifteen years look at their new pledges to support Afghan security forces by 2020 as a mere joke.
They blamed political polarization and corruption as main factors in Afghanistan which faltered the US-led international efforts against terrorism and extremism.
Despite high optimism among the Afghan experts and analysts, critics say the fragile unity government in Afghanistan would not win its war against Taliban largely because of their public support and means to sustain their resistance against the international forces.
Javid Kohistani, a military expert, told an Afghan new outlet Pajhwok Afghan News that NATO’s new pledges to Afghanistan come at a time when Afghanistan is facing political and security problems.
“Security forces are in need of more support, equipment and training from our international allies, this support to Afghan forces is very effective in dealing with extremist and terrorist groups who are active here,” he said.
Kohistani added the NATO’s Resolute Support mission and cooperation with Afghanistan, particularly with Afghan forces, could help stabilize Afghanistan and reduce threats and concerns about the future of Afghans.
“The promises of cooperation with Afghanistan will restore trust of investors and traders and will prevent the youth from fleeing the country. This is a positive step that can help develop the country,” he said.
Another Afghan military expert Abdul Hadi Khalid said that the new NATO pledges towards Afghanistan were hope-giving and optimistic.
“This new step can increase Afghans’ optimism and hope for future of Afghanistan, law enforcement and democracy as well as dealing with the current threats,” he said.
He added NATO’s cooperation with Afghan forces also sent a message to the supporters of terrorism not to interfere in Afghanistan’s affairs and instead resolve issues through talks.
“The new NATO pledges are very important for Afghanistan, particularly in its current political and security situation,” Khalid said.
On the other hand, analysts of Taliban insurgency believed that Taliban still have military advantage over the US and NATO supported Afghan security forces.
They argued that Taliban have grassroots public support and have means to recruit more fighters and funds to sustain their insurgency against the government forces.
They believed that Taliban have one third share in the $3 billion annual income coming to them through Afghan poppy crop, which is their main source of income. It is not only confined to the southern Helmand province but now they also have established their network in northern Afghanistan as well.