“We do not negotiate with Terrorists.” This one line is the reason attempts at peace talks with the Taliban have failed over the terms of two U.S. Presidents. President Trump attempted to arrange talks between himself and the Taliban at Camp David to reach a deal to end our longest war. Talks were canceled and made public information after a U.S. service member was killed in a suicide attack. Since then, the Taliban has threatened the U.S. with more casualties after the abrupt decision to cancel.
The deal proposed would have begun phasing troops out of Afghanistan. 5,400 troops would have been pulled out of Afghanistan in the first 135 days of the agreement if signed. The goal would have been to fully withdraw from Afghanistan before the 2020 Presidential Election. In exchange, the Taliban would have to cease active and passive support for any jihadi groups on their territory.
What went wrong?
President Trump stated on twitter that “If they cannot agree to a ceasefire during these very important peace talks … then they probably don’t have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway.” in reference to the Taliban. Many critics of these talks claim a similar sentiment that the Taliban is not showing “good faith” by continuing attacks during the talks. As well, a consistent critique is that leaving Afghanistan would leave a power vacuum similar to Iraq and ISIS in 2011.
This is due to the upcoming Afghan Presidential Election. Critics point to the fact the U.S. has been trying to negotiate with the Taliban, rather than the elected government. Though the original plan was to meet with the Afghan President as well.
No Path to Peace in Afghanistan War
This is the second attempt by a U.S. President to strike a deal with the Taliban. Obama’s attempt in 2012 ended in a similar fashion. Peace has made little headway in the war. In May, President Trump sent 1,500 more troops to the Middle East. With the latest failure and past trends, the end of the conflict seems nowhere in sight, especially as Foreign Policy advisors continue to warn of a power vacuum or growth in terrorism.
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