Lost in the Ocean of Wars, Is Land in Sight in Afghanistan?

Is the war in Afghanistan finally coming to an end? Will the troops be brought back home? Will the U.S.-backed Afghan government and the Taliban agree on some kind of deal to rule the country without American influence? Will the violence and slaughter of civilians be ended? We should have some optimism about an upcoming agreement, but what is the catch? Why is the Trump administration seemingly so eager to disengage from the conflict? Could it be because it has plans for another war theater in a bordering country?

The negotiations in Doha, Qatar did not produce too many detailed results, due in part to the differing ideologies and tactics between the parties for the future of Afghanistan. For example, the Taliban recently was responsible for the deaths of fourteen civilians and injury to 180 people with a terrorist-style attack involving a car bomb. In addition, the Taliban has been hesitant about negotiating with the Afghan government because of the influence that the United States has on it . However, the United States and the Taliban did agree that ending civilian casualties needs to become a priority.

It will be interesting to see if the United States and the Taliban will come to an agreement where American troops are withdrawn in exchange for the Taliban not allowing the country to become a haven for terrorism, but it may be even more interesting to understand why President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo want the agreement to be reached before the Afghan election in September.

Leaving before the election may assure the Afghan government and people that the United States is not looking to colonize the country and maintain a long-term presence, but why is a time frame being set during a period of reheating tensions with Iran? The Trump administration is desperately trying to portray Iran as an enemy that must be stopped, and it seems like a war with that country could begin in the not-so-far future. Could it be that the president is looking to utilize some of the resources and troops currently occupied by the Afghan conflict towards a new conflict? Could we be looking at war with Iran this coming fall or winter since a deal with the Taliban is set to be reached by September? Perhaps all of this timing is just a coincidence, but this is hard to believe given the history of the United States’ foreign policy.

Will our pointless nineteen-year war be concluded this year? Will the Taliban agree to share power with the current Afghan government, or will it reconquer the majority of the country upon a U.S. withdrawal and hold power as it did prior to the U.S. invasion? Experts will likely argue that immediate withdrawals lead to terrible conditions later on, but the problems we face are not with the withdrawals. The conflicts should be avoided in the first place by exhausting all diplomatic options, but if we find ourselves in a conflict, we should be looking for ways to end the fighting and bring our troops home. We cannot indefinitely keep troops in a country to force it to become a good, little democracy in our image, and occupying a country ends up taking a toll on all parties involved (with casualties, infrastructure destruction, and financial burdens).

The United States is willing to talk with the Taliban now after years of conflict, but where was that same sentiment in 2001? President Bush was not willing to entertain the idea of negotiating with the former Afghan ruling party at that time, despite the attempts by the Taliban to offer to hand over bin Laden if proof of his guilt could be provided, because his administration wanted its war to bolster the military-industrial complex. President Obama was not much different, as the senseless War on Terror was continued straight into the Trump presidency. President Trump has continued in his predecessors’ footsteps and is waiting for a moment to strike at Iran, but maybe we can give him some credit for trying to end the war in Afghanistan. In all reality, however, a small American presence will likely be in Afghanistan indefinitely, but we will see what happens in the next few months.

Thank you for reading, and please check out my book, The Global Bully, and website.
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Published on July 11, 2019 03:38
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