ISLAMABAD/LAHORE - Though the government is yet to come up with an official response to the United States President Donald Trump’s new policy on Afghanistan, some military experts view it another fatally-flawed strategy to help US shore up the confidence in winning its deeply embroiled 16-year war in Afghanistan.

The Trump’s announcement came amid a serious turmoil for his administration, which has seen several top White House officials fired and revelations that members of Trump’s campaign were being investigated by a federal grand jury.

Instead of acknowledging Pakistan’s sacrifices and achievements in the war on terror, President Trump accused Pakistan of providing safe havens to terrorists, a charge Islamabad forcefully rejected stating that sanctuaries used by terrorists along the Pak-Afghan border had been destroyed during military operation Zarb-e-Azb.

The new US strategy laid down by President Trump is antithetical to what a high-level Congressional delegation led by Senator John McCain had acknowledged during their recent visit to Waziristan. So was the acknowledgment by the US Centcom Commander who last week visited the Pakistani side of the Pak- Afghan border.

Pakistan, which had purged its border with Afghanistan in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of terrorists and their hideouts, had foiled 250 attempted terrorist attacks from Afghanistan, and the latest eight terrorist attacks in Pakistan carried out this year were sponsored by Indian premier intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) from Afghanistan.

Commenting on the new US policy on Afghanistan, Lt-Gen (r) Abdul Qayyum, who also heads the Senate Committee on Defence Production, termed the policy statement a conspiracy and a new challenge for Pakistan.

He said instead of acknowledging Pakistan’s sacrifices and achievements in fighting militancy, accusations by the US president disappointed the people of Pakistan.

Senator Qayyum regretted that the US policy was in contrast to Pakistan’s “great sacrifices” and “important contributions” it had made in fighting terrorism as the frontline state in the US-led international war on terror.

Other defence analysts were of the view that Pakistan had destroyed and eliminated the terror infrastructure from its soil and the US demand of ‘do more’ was not going to work this time.

They believed that new US strategy laid down by President Trump for Afghanistan was doomed to fail like the previous policies because a political problem cannot be resolved with force and addition of  4000 more US troops would not help tackle the problem.

Commenting on the development, defence analyst Lt-Gen (r) Zahid Mubashir also viewed the new US strategy for Afghanistan flawed and said the US wants to strengthen India to create problems for Pakistan. “Mere surge of 4000 troops in Afghanistan would not benefit the US,” he said.

He said that Pakistan should evolve an effective foreign policy and through diplomacy tell Americans about its achievements in the war on terror.

Another analyst who requested not to be named said that Trump’s new policy on Afghanistan was an open threat to Pakistan. He also maintained that US president’s backing of India to play a role in the economic development of Afghanistan did not make any sense as India was not an economic power that could contribute to the prosperity of Afghanistan.

“How can a country which is struggling to deal with an abject poverty help others?” he questioned.

Former Foreign Minister Sardar Asif Ahmad Ali said: “Trump’s Afghan policy is old wine in a new bottle. This policy is bound to fail like previous ones. They have pulverized Afghanistan and are trying to put their failures on Pakistan. But they have no right to tell us what to do. It’s time they know that their policy has failed and stop making such blunders.”

Regarding Pakistan-US relations he said it was unfortunate that Pakistan had no foreign policy in the past four years. “While the former Army Chief General Raheel Sharif and present COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa stepped forward to resolve issues, but during this period Afghanistan did not show any interest to bring stability in the region.”

Dr. Hassan Askari Rizvi said: “According to the latest policy, US is talking about indefinite stay in Afghanistan. They will not only increase their stay but also be involved in counter terrorism activities against Taliban, Al Qaida and Daesh. Despite criticizing Pakistan and being critical of its actions, US will not abandon nor would Pakistan end its relations with US. This is the first time US has acknowledged India’s economic and reconstruction role in Afghanistan, which of course is a threat to Pakistan.

“It is clear that the current US Afghan Policy is an extension of the post 9/11 strategic plan in AF-Pak region. Only Trump has articulated the importance of adding India to the equation, perhaps to counter the growing Chinese influence in the region,” Dr Rizvi said.

Lt General (r) Ghulam Mustafa, a defence and current affairs analyst, said: “Trump has followed previous policies so there is nothing new. They have realized that they are unable to clear this mess, so they are trying to put the blame on Pakistan, which they have always been doing. They think they can end it by involving India in this, but they are highly mistaken because Pakistan cannot be excluded if they want to attain peace.”

Brig (R) Farooq Hameed, a defence analyst opined: “Pakistan should learn a lesson and ‘never fight others wars. We made the mistake of being US allies in Afghan jihad and the War on Terror. Pakistan suffered losses of over a hundred billion dollars and loss of human lives. If US believes that by giving India a greater role in Afghanistan they can achieve peace then they are mistaken. Without Pakistan there can be no peace.”

Brig Farooq also shed light on US’s ‘do more’ dictation to Pakistan, “If Trump thinks that they can twist Pakistan’s arm and say ‘do more’ that’s not possible. Pakistan deserves the right to block and terminate the agreements on providing ground and air passage to NATO forces in Afghanistan. They should remember Pakistan’s response to the Salala’s incident.”

“Donald Trump has been misguided and pushed into adopting a policy which in the end has to depend on Pakistan. Only Pakistan can bring everyone to the negotiation table which includes the Afghan Taliban, Afghan Government and others including China, Russia, Iran and US,” he said.

He also pointed out that US is covertly supporting terrorists in Afghanistan. “According to our observations, US keeps asking Pakistan to do more but on the other hand they have not been able to target the sanctuaries of Mullah Fazlullah, who is wanted by Pakistan for Peshawar Army Public School attack. It seems, US is covertly supporting their activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

Dr Iram Khalid, Professor of Political Science Department, University of the Punjab said there were three parts that need to be focused on. “Firstly this policy is a reflection of the Pentagon thinking. Secondly, China and Iran’s role is being judged by US in the region but there is no clear message on it in the statement. Thirdly, US commanders are here to complete their task in the region with the help of India, but it has to be seen if other entities would allow India to grow.”