On 21 August 2017, United States (US) President Donald Trump announced his much awaited “Strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia.” Trump’s speech from Fort Myer marks a paradigm shift from the high expectations of a dignified withdrawal that many observers of the region’s geopolitics have held since the election of the US President. In Trump’s own words, “My original instinct was to pull outand historically, I like following my instincts”. Although his strategy may be flawed and one-sided it is worth understanding the American thinking towards this issue so that a path can be found for Pakistan to manoeuvre through the American shenanigans. A key point to note at this juncture is that President Trump seeks not to end the war in Afghanistan but instead bring down a military victory to realise the US$800 billion expenditure on this 16-year war spread through three US Presidential terms. Looking at this from a perspective of behavioural economics this is a clear-cut case of sunk cost fallacy. At the same time, the US President must acknowledge his political capital deciding against withdrawal as his electoral base does not favour US engagements overseas. The situation of the Americans is very well explained in the words of the Ancient Chinese military General Sun Tzu “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” During the 10-year soviet-Afghan war which lasted from 1979-1989, Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev announced its plans for withdrawal in 1987 which took place from 1988-1989. A common fear that can be identified is that both Dr Najibullah and Ashraf Ghani feared withdrawal of the superpowers. Even after withdrawal, the government of Dr Najibullah received economic and military aid from the Soviet Union while the Americans through Pakistan funded the Afghan Mujahidin which fought against the Afghan State. During this era the land of Afghanistan became home ground for global terrorism. Although the Afghan Taliban have themselves never directly engaged in terrorist activities, they have aided and allowed terrorist organisations to flourish in their controlled territories. Under the Taliban regime, Afghanistan had become the hub of transnational terrorism and until now it remains that despite years of fighting radical elements. In retrospect, the risks and dangers of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan since the Soviet invasion in 1979, is identifiable. Moreover, an American withdrawal in Afghanistan would have caused Donald Trump to make the same mistake that his predecessor Barrack Obama made in Iraq. A withdrawal would replicate a similar situation to 1989, as without foreign economic and military assistance the Government in Kabul would only survive 2-5 years at most before the Afghan State gets overthrown again. In his rhetoric against Pakistan, providing sanctuaries to “terrorists”, President Trump forgot about the other Taliban; Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Although it is true that the Afghan Taliban actively operate from the infamous Quetta Shura and Peshawar Shura in Pakistan especially so given the vastly open undemarcated border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, shuttling across the Durand line can easily go undetected even with high technology surveillance such as satellite monitors and spy drones that hover over the area. Therefore, it is an unreasonable expectation for Pakistan to control the movement of Taliban personnel entering its territory. Trump must acknowledge that his electoral base does not favour US engagements in overseas territories It is a commonly accepted fact in Pakistan that India and Afghanistan train, support and fund the TTP in conducting terrorist activities and creating instability in Pakistan. This is believed to be Kabul’s revenge for Pakistan’s support of the Afghan Taliban and India’s strategy to get Pakistan engaged in fighting internal elements so that it redeploys its army from the eastern border to the western border. India also plans to distract Pakistan’s attention away from the legitimate struggle for the right of self-determination taking place in Indian Occupied Kashmir. As such Donald Trump remains completely oblivious to the Indo-Pakistan proxy war that has been taking place on Afghan soil. In December 2016, during the heart of Asia-Istanbul process Ministerial conference held in Amritsar, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani remarked that military operations in Pakistan had led to many Taliban moving back into Afghanistan. After operation Zarb-e-Azb launched by former Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General (R) Raheel Sharif, terrorist elements combated by the Pakistan Army have taken refuge in Afghanistan and used the country as a base to launch attacks in Pakistan. . If Pakistan, India and Afghanistan can cooperate to fight terrorism there will be nothing to fight in the first place as whatever that is left of terrorism in South Asia is either state terrorism or State-Sponsored Terrorism. It would be wise for President Trump to use his office to improve the multilateral relations of these 3 countries instead of further antagonising them against each other. Pakistan has been applauded for hosting 3 million Afghan refugees. It has also offered $500 million dollars in economic aid which was rejected by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani due to India’s influence over its foreign policy. Pakistan also provides thousands of scholarships to Afghan students to study in Pakistani universities despite the fact that its own children are deprived of education. Hence, it is a matter of great disappointment for Pakistan that Donald Trump has chosen to remain ignorant of the goodwill that Pakistan has extended towards Afghanistan. The stance that President Trump has adopted towards dealing with Pakistan was not contemplated overnight but was in fact due to the relentless efforts of the Indian/Anti-Pakistan lobby in Washington D.C that has been fuelled by growing Islamophobia in the US. President Trumps also made allegations regarding US funds to Pakistan in his speech. It must thus be understood that the billions of dollars Donald Trump is talking about have been no gift of charity to Pakistan, but compensation for services rendered to American and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan ought to unite as a nation to strategies its approach in this rapidly changing world order. The Pakistani government and military must be aware that if Pakistan still places any value of its relationship with the US it has lots of repair work to do. Pakistan should be more forthcoming and proactive when engaging with stakeholders and influential people in the US. Pakistan needs to develop an influential Pakistani lobby in the US through building strong bonds with the diaspora community there. It must also realise that it has to correct some of its policies if it wants to gain supporters of its narrative. My observation of US-Pakistan relations shows that while Pakistan has been a seriously misunderstood country in America and in the world at large, it has done very little to ratify its image. This has damaged the reputation of Pakistan in western perspectives and the people of Pakistan have every right to demand its government to fix the stature and respect Pakistan truly deserves in the international comity of nations. The writer is an expert analyst on Pakistan’s Foreign Policy. He was a former Research Intern at the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), National University of Singapore. The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly personal Published in Daily Times, September 5th 2017.