Afghanistan: All Talk, No Peace 🗣️
The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 following al-Qaeda’s attack on September 11th, driving the Taliban from power in Afghanistan in order to deny al-Qaeda a safe base of operations in the country. Since then, the US has established a fragile democracy and forced the Taliban into neighboring Pakistan. The Taliban have responded by attempting to disrupt the democracy through increasingly brazen insurgent attacks.
This past week three American service members were killed in separate attacks, two of which occurred during a period when secret talks between the US and Taliban were reportedly close to reaching a tentative peace deal. On Saturday, Trump tweeted that a secret summit between the US, Taliban and the Afghan government to be held at Camp David was cancelled due to the recent attacks.
Outlets that believe Trump made the right call point to four reasons: (1) the optics of having the Taliban in the US near the anniversary of 9/11 would be poor, (2) withdrawing vs. a peace agreement have very different implications, (3) the Taliban continue violence while trying to strike a peace deal, and (4) the Afghan govt. should be leading the negotiations.
Outlets that believe Trump made the wrong call generally quote the Taliban’s threat that the US walking away from the negotiations will lead to more American deaths. They quote Pompeo that peace talks are effectively “dead” in asserting that they believe talks, even with the Taliban, are the only way to end America’s longest war.
Where's the common ground?
Both sides recognize that talks with the Taliban are likely the only realistic way for the conflict in Afghanistan to reach some sort of conclusion, but where they differ is in their belief that the actions of the Taliban will enable the right conditions for peace and withdrawal negotiations.
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