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Trump appears ready to cut and run in Afghanistan

The situation in Afghanistan is murky no longer – because it has, to a large extent, spiralled out of control. Rather than seeking a win-win scenario in which the United States might forge a deal with the Taliban for a more peaceful country, U.S. officials instead seem hell-bent on delivering to the Taliban everything the Taliban wants: Negotiations, political clout, release of prisoners – and the Taliban couldn’t be happier.
Trump appears ready to cut and run in Afghanistan
AVA- These are high times for the Taliban. Their striking capabilities remain fully intact, yet they’re being invited to the negotiating table to talk peace. The insurgent group has been offered almost everything they’ve asked for, without any strings attached.
They have been on a killing spree, and the number of dead doesn’t account for much. That’s how tragic the situation in Afghanistan has become. The numbers – irrespective of how large or small – are no longer enough to move us.
The events from Sunday, where dozens of Afghan special forces troops were killed and a loyal and peaceful province appears about to be ravaged, shouldn’t surprise us. The failure of the security apparatus the U.S. forces helped build is apparent.
Negotiating peace with the Taliban when the casualties are piling up each passing day should alarm us.
If U.S. policymakers aren’t in a position to require the Taliban to shed violence before being invited to the negotiating table, the Taliban have no reason to dial back the slaughter.
And as the Taliban ups the ante, the United States appears to be preparing to ask the Afghanistan government to delay the presidential elections scheduled for April – to ensure the U.S. has enough room to negotiate with the Taliban.
Why would the United States risk appearing so desperate to strike a deal with the Taliban? It might be because the losses in Afghanistan are becoming embarrassing for the Trump administration, which appears to be envisioning a quick exit.
Here’s a reminder: The United States abandoned Afghanistan after the USSR left the country, and the aftermath of that abandonment is no secret. There’s a big memorial in Manhattan for any who forgot.
The United States left Iraq when the country needed the U.S. presence for rehabilitation and reconstruction. What followed there wasn’t sweet, either.
Wherever there’s a vacuum, there’ll be the likes of bin Laden and Baghdadi eager to step in.
Give them the room to play – and time – and they will reward you with new nightmares.
There’s no question Afghanistan needs a political breakthrough. Negotiations could end the stalemate, but it just isn’t logical that one party to the negotiations is not only able to launch terror strikes at will, but does so in the midst of the talks.
The United States engaging in direct talks with the Taliban also undermines democracy in Afghanistan, something for which U.S. forces have fought valiantly for more than 17 years, but which the Trump administration appears willing to abandon.
The insurgents, of course, want to take the Kabul government out of the negotiations equation, and the United States apparently is laying the framework to appease them.
National security is a tricky business.
The challenge for the United States is it sometimes requires more brain than brawn.
Thursday 15 November 2018 06:30
Story Code: 174116 Copy text available
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