Trump takes a jibe at Modi for funding a library in Afghanistan

Sunday, 06 Jan, 2019

To make matters worse, the US President even wondered who would use a library in Afghanistan. "You know, a lot these places you're reading about now are no longer a part of Russian Federation because of Afghanistan".

Recounting a list of countries that were not getting the USA foreign assistance anymore, he hinted at cutting corners and blamed Congress for approving $55 billion in foreign aid but not enough for spending within the country.

The US media noted that when Trump said last week, he would soon recall half of the 14,000 troops from Afghanistan, he was only reflecting a popular opinion.

Top of the mind for Trump now is a wall on the Mexican border, whose utility is not apparent to most but for whose sake he has partially shut down the USA government (because Congress hasn't approved the billions of dollars needed to build the wall). India also financed the building of the Afghan parliament. The American mantra has been that India was rendering invaluable help to Afghanistan. Well, Islamabad is involved in Afghanistan and is actually one of the main reasons the country remains as precariously poised, since Pakistan has frequently supported, funded or given safe haven to the Taliban, whom Trump referred to as the "enemy".

Last month, Trump put forth a motion to cut US forces in Afghanistan to reduce spending, a proposal that would see the current deployment of 14,000 troops reduced by half.

Alluding in Wednesday's remarks to the 1979-1989 Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Trump said: "Russia used to be the Soviet Union".

Moreover, others in the United States establishment, including Trump's own Cabinet members have repeatedly praised India for its development efforts in the country, which go far beyond building "a library".

Washington's Pew Research Centre, which conducts annual surveys of USA public opinions on Afghanistan, reported recently that by the end of 2018 the Afghan war had become very unpopular. They said such assistance would go a long way in making the country economically empowered and stable.

India's ruling and opposition parties condemned U.S. President Donald Trump's comments this week mocking New Delhi's role in war-torn Afghanistan, where the South Asian country has invested billion of dollars in economic projects and military training.

He referred to Prime Minister Modi as an example of how world leaders were talking about their contributions that were nowhere near the billions of dollars the U.S. was spending.

New Delhi has also set up 116 "high-impact community development projects" in 31 provinces of Afghanistan to help with education, health, agriculture, irrigation, drinking water, renewable energy, flood control, micro-hydropower, sports infrastructure and administrative infrastructure. With each development project, India has gained a foothold of credibility and goodwill in the minds of the Afghan people and strengthened the domestic dispensation in the war-ravaged country. Mr. Mattis had pushed most strenuously to keep India in the Afghan game by swinging a waiver for India on Chabahar and Iran oil purchases.

Though the U.S. has been pressing India to send troops to Afghanistan, a demand repeatedly rejected by New Delhi, this is the first time the USA administration has publicly mocked India's developmental works in the strife-torn country.

He said the United States has failed to win the war in Afghanistan and that is why Trump has removed his defence minister General James Mattis.