Taliban sources claimed that they had reached an initial peace deal with the United States on Saturday in which American troops would depart from the country within 18 months.
American officials have sought for years to come to an agreement with the Islamist militant group that would see the Taliban disarm as a combatant force opposing both the Afghan and American militaries, usually offering a role to play in Afghanistan’s democratic political system as an alternative to armed militancy.
Reuters claimed to have seen the draft agreement of the proposal, which was negotiated over in Qatar between Taliban representatives and U.S Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad. On Twitter, the U.S diplomat described “significant progress” as having been made from the talks in Qatar.
Some might object to the very premise of negotiation with a organization thought of by many as an Islamist terrorist group. However, the prospect of simply destroying the Taliban as a significant element within Afghan society has seemed less and less likely as the United States’ record-setting 18-year engagement in the country has continued on, the longest overseas war in American history by far. Afghan forces have continued to demonstrate themselves largely ineffective or unwilling to confront the Taliban in a meaningful way, continuing to cede great swathes of the Central Asian country to the group despite hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S military aid.
It’s long past time that the boots on the ground opposing the Taliban be drawn from populations that actually live in Afghanistan.
Declaring victory and bringing American troops home safe from harm’s way would allow the U.S military to refocus on preparing for contingencies that pose a far more realistic threat to American national security than the Taliban, such as North Korea, China, and Iran.
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