The United States is making moves to finally pull out of Afghanistan, but there’s something very unsettling going on here…
Something very strange and historic is happening in Doha, Qatar. As the war in Afghanistan enters its 18th year, American diplomats are having face-to-face discussions with the Taliban over the possibilities of peace.
Yes, you read that right. The United States, a country which prides itself on not negotiating with terrorists, is doing just that. On top of that, the United States is doing so without the Afghan government.
Back in December, President Trump ordered the military to prepare for the withdrawal of 7,000 troops from Afghanistan (half of the total military presence there), a part of his larger scheme to remove the military from its various operational areas across the world. Trump’s critics at home are skeptical that this move is less motivated by national security than it is by designating money for his wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but Afghan president Ashraf Ghani has his own concerns.
As it stands, the deal on the table looks something like this: The United States will withdraw its troops if the Taliban agrees to put an end to its terror attacks abroad. Obviously, making a legitimate peace agreement after 18 years of hostility is going to look much more complex, but from what we know right now, this is the gist of it. As Taliban spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid stated, “Until the issue of withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan is agreed upon, progress in other issues is impossible.”
If there aren’t red flags going off in your head about this potential agreement, then…well, here’s some things to consider. In the past three years, the Afghan government has lost 16% of its territory to insurgency, now down to controlling just over half of the country. On top of that, despite the $1 trillion the American government has spent fighting insurgencies and training the local military for their eventual withdrawal, all signs point to the Afghan military being unable to control the country – that’s one expensive paper tiger. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but there is no evidence suggesting the Afghan government will be able to tread water once the American forces withdraw.
If I sound too harsh or pessimistic, let’s hear what President Ghani himself thinks about this. Once Ghani heard the United States was planning to withdraw, he immediately reached out to President Trump requesting they negotiate a cost-effective way to keep the American military around. This isn’t exactly the attitude of a confident president, and as far as we know, this request has fallen on deaf ears.
Now, I’m not saying I’m against the withdrawal from Afghanistan, I’m only worried about what this deal could lead to. As far as we know, this is not a deal outlining peace in Afghanistan – only between the U.S. and the Taliban. We haven’t heard anything about a peace process being outlined between the Taliban and the Afghan government in quite some time, and the government being excluded from these talks leads me to believe that the American government is becoming less concerned with its commitment to Afghanistan.