After “six days of some of the most serious Afghan peace negotiations to date,” US government and Taliban officials have agreed in principle to preliminary foundations of a deal, the “biggest tangible step toward ending” the war, the New York Times (1/28/19, 1/26/19) reported this week.
Gunar Olsen | truthdig
As described by US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, a longtime neoconservative architect of Hamid Karzai’s installation as Afghan president following the US invasion in 2001, the Taliban would guarantee that Afghan soil would never again be used to plot a terror attack against the United States. The US would then fully withdraw its troops, in return for a ceasefire and direct negotiations between the Taliban and Afghan government. This framework agreement comes a month after President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of 7,000, or about half, of US troops from Afghanistan. (Trump increased troops in Afghanistan from roughly 8,400 to 14,000 in 2017.)
Certainly this sounds like good news, a chance to end the United States’ longest overseas war, one that has cost nearly $1 trillion and some 100,000 lives—a war that, in its 17th year, even the foreign policy elite admit “cannot be won” (Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haass, Project Syndicate, 1/14/19).