The Daily Caller is reporting that the trump administration has changed the strategy in Afghanistan with a view of bringing the civil war between the Afghan government and the Taliban to a conclusion. Under Obama, American efforts had primarily been directed at Al Qaeda. Trump has unleashed American military and intelligence assets against the former rulers of the landlocked Central Asian country.

The CIA is to be unleashed

The core of the new strategy is to unleash the CIA and to allow it to form paramilitary hunter-killer teams to go after Taliban leaders and bomb makers.

Along with more drone strikes, the idea is to put pressure on the Islamist army and to start to roll back the gains that it made during the Obama years. The Taliban controls more territory now than it did since 9/11 and the initial coalition invasion.

About 3,000 more combat troops have been sent to Afghanistan and bombing has been stepped up. The overall goal is to force the Taliban to the negotiating table and force it to transform from a military insurgency to an opposition political party.

Will the strategy work?

On the one hand, the stepped-up combat operations and the loosening rules of engagement are changes in strategy that are all to the good. The passive stance that characterized the Obama years had raised the specter of defeat in Afghanistan, a country that was the initial theater of operations during the war on terror.

Fighting and defeating an insurgency is a tough proposition under the best of circumstances. Doing so in Afghanistan has traditionally been a source of futility, a goal that has escaped invaders including the Soviets and the British dating back to the time of Alexander the Great. Add to those factors the religious zeal of the insurgents, who adhere a belief that they will be rewarded in the afterlife if they die fighting the enemy, and one finds a task that makes Vietnam seem easy by comparison.

Still, the Trump administration has switched from a timetable strategy to one based on outcomes. Previously, the Taliban was confident that all it would have to do is to wait out the American led coalition until it gave up and withdrew. The president’s men have signaled that the United States is in for as long as it takes to bring the Taliban to heal and to shape Afghanistan into some kind of shape so that it won’t be a terrorist haven any longer. Whether the United States has the patience to follow through remains to be seen.