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.
Texas Political Establishment Attempts to Derail Shelley Luther’s Campaign
The special election for Texas’ Senate District 30 is on pace to be one of the most heated races in the Lone Star State.
At a candidate forum on September 18, 2020, Shelley Luther, the Dallas salon owner who was jailed for opening her business in defiance of Governor Greg Abbott’s shutdown order, confronted outgoing State Senator Pat Fallon.
Fallon vacated his seat and is now backing a successor in State Representative Drew Springer.
“We don’t want somebody who’s going to be at odds with our Republican governor,” Fallon said September 18 at the Grayson County Republican Women’s Club.
I didn’t support some of the things that he has done about opening up. … So, he’s made some mistakes. He’s our Republican governor, the 80/20 rule … because you’re not going to get any bills passed unless the governor signs them.
“Let me make something clear. I am accountable to my fellow citizens in Senate District 30. Not our Governor,” Luther responded on September 19 on Facebook:
This is exactly what is wrong with Austin. Our politicians are more loyal to Abbott than us, even when they disagree with him.
I will work with Governor Abbott when he is fighting to protect the liberty of Texans, and I will oppose him when he pushes unilateral dictates that shut down our local businesses.
Fallon and Luther had a tense exchange, which was caught on video.
“You want me to go all in on this race?” Fallon questioned Luther. “I have been 5 percent in on this race. You want me to go all in on it, I’m welcome to.”
“This has become a straight-up fight between Abbott and the ‘Kumbaya’ Professional Political Class vs. the grassroots and people who remember what limited government and principles should look like,” opined conservative activist Mike Openshaw.
“Respectfully, being willing to be jailed for fighting over-reaching government shows principle; that counts for something, Patrick,” Openshaw continued.
Luther has recently received endorsements from conservative Collin County Judge Chris Hill and Young Conservatives of Texas. Springer, on the other hand, received an endorsement from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, which asserted that Luther was going down a “far right” path.
A Republican is expected to carry the senate district, which may still require a runoff if the leading candidate does not get enough votes during the first round of the special election.
Election Day will be on September 29.
Luther is viewed as the truly conservative option and many believe she could help break the political status quo in Austin that has kept conservative legislation from ever being passed.
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