Afghanistan

Trump Administration Says It's Ready to Sign Peace Deal With the Taliban by the End of the Month

Left unspecified: how many U.S. troops would be coming home, and when

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After nearly 20 years of incessant fighting, the U.S. and the Taliban might ink a peace deal by the end of the month. The accord is contingent on the Taliban abiding by a violence reduction agreement over the next seven days.

"The United States and the Taliban have been engaged in extensive talks to facilitate a political settlement to end the war in Afghanistan, reduce United States and Allied Forces presence, and ensure that no terrorist group ever uses Afghan soil to threaten the United States or our allies," said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a statement released this morning.

After the deal is signed, the Taliban and Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government have agreed negotiate the conditions of a permanent ceasefire and a roadmap for the country's political future.

Today's announcement is the culmination of a process started in 2018, when the White House ordered U.S. diplomats to start direct talks with the Taliban.

Provided a new outbreak of violence doesn't spoil it over the next week, this could be the beginning of the end for a war that has cost the lives of some 2,400 U.S. military personnel and tens of thousands of Afghan civilians.

A lot of specifics still need to be worked out, though, including how many of the 14,000 U.S. forces in the country will be withdrawn and how quickly that will happen. The Trump administration has previously said that 5,400 troops would be pulled out of the country within 135 days of signing a peace deal with the Taliban.

"It's a good thing that a deal is beginning to be finalized and it seems like there's some political momentum behind it," says John Glaser, foreign policy scholar with the Cato Institute, while adding that "there are a number of things that are inherent to this process that are very risky."

An agreement between the Taliban and the U.S. that specifies a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawals contingent on reductions in Taliban violence could add stability to any peace process, he says.

Glaser warns against creating too many conditions for withdrawing U.S. troops, noting that this would increase the chances their departure will be delayed. There's also a significant risk that the peace process will be derailed by a breakdown in talks between the Kabul government and the Taliban.

President Donald Trump was sharply critical of the war in Afghanistan while a candidate, but he increased the U.S. military presence in the country while in office. Congressional bills that would wind down the war have gone nowhere.

It's encouraging that the White House is now ready to sign a peace deal. As Glaser says, "the war is a disaster and cannot be won."

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  1. “Provided a new outbreak of violence doesn’t spoil it over the next week, this could be the beginning of the end for a war that has cost the lives of some 2,400 U.S. military personnel and tens of thousands of Afghan civilians.”

    I happy to see a end to the fighting in Afghanistan come to a end.
    The above comments never talk about how many terrorist or enemy combatants killed, or how many the civilians are not killed by the U.S.

    1. I also thought it odd that the author would so carefully cite those statistics but not even mention the number of Taliban soldier deaths.

      1. I don’t think they tally those at least not publicly. That was a mistake made in Vietnam when they issued body counts.

      2. Besides most of the fighting in Afghanistan is hit and run guerrilla attacks or air strikes. I think it would be hard to know.

        What a fiasco. We should have been out years ago. You can’t win these kinds of wars. Nobody ever has.

    2. BBC has estimated 60k taliban killed. About another 2k each of ISIS and AQ.

      https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-49662640

      1. Good. Should have been more.

  2. Oh, yeah, this is gonna work out great. Heavily armed religious fanatics always respect agreements.

    1. So it’s either kill them all or never-ending war. And since there’s no way to ever know you got them all, you’re down to never-ending war. That’ll work out great, too.

      1. +100000

    2. “Oh, yeah, this is gonna work out great. Heavily armed religious fanatics always respect agreements.”

      Perhaps the people in Afghanistan should take care of that sort of problem.
      Or YOU could volunteer; we’ll be waiting for your statement.

    3. And how are they our problem?

  3. “Glaser warns against creating too many conditions for withdrawing U.S. troops, noting that this would increase the chances their departure will be delayed.”

    It’s an election year, and we should keep an eye out for any Democrat candidate that tries to exploit this process. Any candidate who tries to force Trump’s hand on this–if there are hiccups–and makes us stay longer should be avoided. If there’s anything worse for America than a presidential candidate who’s supposedly anti-forever wars and yet criticizes the president for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in an election year, I’m not sure what that is. They certainly have no business being president.

    Here’s the real anti-forever war position: The United States should withdraw from Afghanistan, at this point, because doing so is in the best interests of the United States–regardless of whether the Taliban lives up to their side of the agreement. Anyone who insists that the United States stay until the Taliban become pro-peace saints is either an idiot or a phony, as far as anti-forever wars go, and anyone who doesn’t want the war in Afghanistan to end if President Trump is the one who ends it has no business being president.

    Minimum qualification for being president–doing what’s in the best interests of the United States, even if that means shaking hands with the Taliban and even if that means giving President Trump credit IF IF IF and when credit is due.

    1. “Here’s the real anti-forever war position: The United States should withdraw from Afghanistan, at this point, because doing so is in the best interests of the United States–regardless of whether the Taliban lives up to their side of the agreement.”

      Louder for the people in back.

      It’s great that Trump is trying to get some concessions from them, but we should be leaving regardless of what the deal looks like and regardless of whether other countries/governments like it or not. We’ve accomplished all we’re going to accomplish there (in my eyes that was done the day Osama got an ocean burial) and we need to leave. If it devolves into chaos so be it, it’s not like that’s a change from the last 2,000 years or so in the region.

      1. Amen

      2. The key is GTFO. It will all turn to shit and the Democrats and neocons will scream and moan but in a few weeks it will be forgotten. The dems will absolutely try to use it against Trump but the public will support a withdrawal and his ratings will improve. I really hope we see significant numbers of troops coming home before November.

        1. No matter what Trump does, he will be vilified for it. I got a good example of that when I made the mistake of allowing my commie progressive aunt to discuss politics with me. All she does is repeat MSNBC talking points based on what they tell het to believe.

          1. Maybe it is best way to go

  4. This is absolutely outrageous. Commander in Chief Hillary Clinton would have secured a final, decisive victory over the Taliban. Then, and only then, would she have reduced troop levels. I am disgusted by Orange Hitler’s cowardly “cut and run” approach.

    #StillWithHer
    #LibertariansForStayingInAfghanistan

    1. You’re not just incompetent, you’re dangerous. Please jump into a volcano.

    2. Idk OBL – your schtick is getting a little long in the tooth, wouldn’t you say? Don’t get me wrong, we all enjoy a good parody account – and there’s something to be said for the difficulty in producing biased sarcasm for your enemy. But… ah hell what am I saying? This place would be Quora without your instigating. Carry on, old chap. Carry on.

    3. Yep. The Hag would have screamed and nagged til the Taliban all committed ritual suicide just to make it all stop.

      1. I just spit coffee on my laptop…LOL

  5. According to WaPo, NYT and U.S. media outlets, the breaking story today is that Vlad is pitching for his asset in the U.S. 2020 election-AGAIN. War/peace in Afghanistan, shrug.

    Breaking News and back in all of its glory, TrumpRussia, TrumpRussia, TrumpRussia!

    1. I, for one, am looking forward to a whole pile of new, lame, gifs!

  6. I’ve long advocated declaring victory and going home – declaring victory and not going home is not the same thing.

    1. How ’bout declaring that we have recovered our sanity and going home?

  7. This is good. I suspect any such agreement only serves to prevent having to withdraw under fire.

    We should be careful and remember the lessons of history. The British retreat from Kabul 1842.

    https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofBritain/Britains-Retreat-From-Kabul-1842/

    I believe the sole survivor, an army surgeon was Conan Doyle’s inspiration for Dr. Watson.

    1. We still found a few martini henry rifles from the last time the Brits were in Afg, prior to 2001. One teammate was able to bring back a pretty cool one. The barrel had been cut short and the wood furniture was riveted with really crude but decorative Afghan metal work.

      1. You never served, you lying shitweasel. You’re just Pedo Jeffy/Cytotoxic. You’re not even American.

    2. Typical clinger ignorance Joseph bell was the inspiration behind Holmes, and Doyle concidered himself Watson (as he was bells student). Your woke betters will ram literary history down your neck, and the neck of everyone, and we will make you pay for that class, along with gay transgender African studies, with free college for all. The revolution to end clingers is almost here!

      1. This is the best paragraph I’ve ever read

        1. “Your woke betters will ram literary history down your neck, and the neck of everyone, and we will make you pay for that class, along with gay transgender African studies, with free college for all.”

          Just… BRAVO!

        2. Ten years ago this would’ve been demagogic strawman parody. Today it’s the DNC’s official position.

      2. You spelled it wrong. It isn’t clinger it’s Klinger and how do I look in the chiffon dress or is it too much with the red pumps?

      3. Then who was the inspiration for Prof. Challenger?

  8. ENDING WARS IS THE FIRST STEP TO FASCISM!!! Or something like that…

    1. Pulls out of wars, negotiates with the Taliban and the DPRK, prays at the Western Wall in a tallit and tefillin

      Orange Hitler is the worst Hitler ever.

      1. Well he did wear a kippah which was his choice. Any prayer he may have said would have been his own. He did not have talit or tephillin . That would be improper actually.

        Anyway I get your point. It was a very nice gesture.

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  10. I enjoy that your top priority in announcing the administration’s desire to sign a peace deal is pointing out that they didn’t list a timetable for exactly when and how many troops would be withdrawn.

    “Trump’s doing exactly what we hoped a US president would do… but he didn’t say exactly the words we want!!!”

    Sheesh people… can we wait until they actually have a peace accord to crap on how it is implemented?

    1. “Trump’s doing exactly what we pretended we hoped a US president would do (but don’t really give a shit because were only here until we get hired by WaPo)… but he isn’t a Democrat so we’ll attack him regardless!!!”

      Fixed for even greater accuracy. Most Reason writers are only larping libertarian (poorly) as part of the gig.

    2. “I enjoy that your top priority in announcing the administration’s desire to sign a peace deal is pointing out that they didn’t list a timetable for exactly when and how many troops would be withdrawn. ”

      Their readers probably share your enjoyment. The safe return of Americans is their foremost concern, Trump’s too. I don’t even think that winning or losing, or justifying the enormous waste of lives matters much at this point.

      1. I don’t even think that winning or losing, or justifying the enormous waste of lives matters much at this point.

        Let’s hope not, and that our people will be coming home very soon.

  11. This is the most exciting news I have seen recently. This world needs peace. War can only bring grief. https://www.wallpaperkin.com/wvi/iRiiw_donald-trump-fists-funny/

  12. I don’t understand why the US can’t just pull out. Does anyone believe the whole country won’t descend into chaos and civil war as soon as the US is gone? Pretending to negotiate a lasting peace is just a waste of time, money, and lives.

    1. As echospinner said above, we need a temporary reduction in hostilities so our soldiers can withdraw safely.

      1. I love spending time and chatting with wiengirls all the time

    2. “Does anyone believe the whole country won’t descend into chaos and civil war as soon as the US is gone? ”

      Afghanistan descended into chaos and civil war more than 40 years ago. It’s possible that the people of Afghanistan are tired and ready for peace.

      1. But if they’re not, that’s their business.

        1. I was just amused at the notion that only after a US withdrawal are we willing to concede that Afghanistan might descend into chaos.

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  14. I support peace talks with the Taliban, but I worry that the talks don’t seem to include the Afghan government, the US ally in the country. ‘Talking over the heads’ of our allies may make some things easier but they will have to be included at some point if the peace talks are to result in peace.

    1. They’re not going to result in peace. The best we can hope for is a lull in the fighting so we can more safely evacuate our people.

      1. “They’re not going to result in peace.”

        If that’s the kind of cheap jack cynicism that informs these talks, you are probably right. A better approach would be to include all those party to the conflict.

        1. Any time they want to talk, they can.

          1. There’s a difference between ‘talking any time they want to talk’ and being party to peace negotiations. Do you know anything about the peace negotiations in Vietnam? They squabbled for weeks or even months over issues like the shape of the conference table. Palestine also is interesting. Americans for years sought to settle the middle east by direct talks between US, Israel and a host of neighboring Arab countries, leaving the PLO out of the picture. The PLF, an even more radical group, perpetrated the Achille Lauro hijacking, murdering an American, and eventually Reagan had to cave and Palestinians have ever since been included in any negotiations.

            1. Why was no war against Palestine declared?

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  16. The Afghan government is going to fall 2 months after we leave whether we leave in 2 weeks or in 20 years.
    The depth of incompetence, corruption and criminality of that government is breathtaking.
    Their only hope to survive is if the Afghan National Army, especially its special forces go work for a regional warlord.
    Trying to make a national army in a tribal country is useless.

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