Troop Withdrawals to Commence After Trump Cuts Deal With the Taliban
After negotiating a new deal with the Taliban on Thursday August 1, 2019, the Trump administration is planning to withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan based on a report from The Hill.
According to a The Washington Post report, which cited numbers from U.S. officials, the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan would be cut back to between 8,000 and 9,000 from the current number of 14,000.
On the Taliban side, they would reportedly have to begin the negotiating process with the Afghan government to bring the peace to the war-torn area. This deal entails a cease-fire and the Taliban renouncing al-Qaeda.
According to the Post, this proposal is the product of months of talks between the Taliban and Zalmay Khalilzad, an American diplomat born in Afghanistan.
Officials are speculating that an agreement could be finalized right before Afghanistan’s September elections. Nevertheless, they did concede that there are still challenges ahead.
One official told the Post, “I would say that they are 80 or 90 percent of the way there.”
The same official added, “But there is still a long way to go on that last 10 or 20 percent.”
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid did not respond to the Post’s request for comment about a potential deal. He also stated that he didn’t know when the negotiations would continue.
Mujahid declared “We are hopeful. Things look promising that there will be a breakthrough. We hope there won’t be any obstacle, but it also depends on the seriousness of the Americans.”
In a tweet on Wednesday, Khalizad said that his recent visit to Afghanistan was his “most productive.” He stated that “if the Taliban do their part, we will do ours, and conclude the agreement we have been working on.”
However, there might be roadblocks in this withdrawal process.
In a statement to The Hill, Defense Department spokesperson Rebecca Rebarich said that the department had not been instructed to withdraw forces.
“Our strategy in Afghanistan is conditions-based,” Rebarich declared. “Our troops will remain in Afghanistan at appropriate levels so long as their presence is required to safeguard U.S. interests.”
Similarly, a State Department spokesperson told The Hill that any agreement will be conditions-based and that the administration is seeking to reach a peace agreement, not so much a withdrawal agreement.
Additionally, the spokesperson said that any reduction in forces or withdrawal will also have to meet certain conditions.
At first glance, this looks like a positive development.
However, the hesitance on this matter just demonstrates how there are greater forces in Washington D.C. that will try to roadblock President Trump’s America First agenda.
Nevertheless, Trump should stand strong.
He is the commander-in-chief after all, and he ultimately has the final say on military matters.
With the public growing tired of the never-ending wars, it’s time that Trump carry out the will of the people and put an end to these disastrous regime change campaigns.
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