Afghanistan In The News (As Always)

Yes we have a deal with the Taleban…..and the best news possible is that the US has already started withdrawing troops from the conflict…..

Just over a week after the signing of the Afghan peace deal, the first few hundreds of US troops are rotating out of the country. The rotation was planned before the deal, but in keeping with the US withdrawal, the troops will not be replaced.

This is just the first few hundred troops leaving out of an estimated 13,000 US troops present in Afghanistan. The plan is to cut troops in the near-term to about 8,600, and officials say this is the official start of a pullout. After this, the goal would be to cut troop levels to zero, ending a 19 year US occupation. The peace deal says this should happen in nine and a half months.

The Trump Administration wanted the troop cuts, deal or no deal, by the 2020 election. Going from 8,600 to zero, under the deal, however, is based on metrics. Indications are that a secret annex to the deal makes this very vague, allowing the US to withdraw from the rest of the pullout at will.

Still, with uncertainty ongoing, the fact that the US is moving forward with the pullout as planned, indications are that the US is at the very least moving to continue its existing position, and isn’t immediately rethinking things.

(antiwar.com)

Hopefully they all make it home before something goes to crap.

As a student of conflict I would love to read the agreement the US signed with the Taleban…..but I cannot……WHY?

The details of how the U.S. military will withdraw from Afghanistan – including the types of attacks U.S. troops and the Taliban have agreed to not conduct – are part of two classified annexes to the recently signed withdrawal agreement, according to the New York Times.

While some members of Congress will be able to read the annexes, the vast majority of the American public will have no idea what their government has agreed to as part of the deal to end the war in Afghanistan, which is in its 19th year.

The U.S. military has “legitimate reasons” why it does not want some information to become public knowledge, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said on Tuesday.

https://taskandpurpose.com/analysis/afghanistan-peace-deal-secrets

What could the reasons for the public not having access to this document?

Could it have anything to do with November?

Just Asking!

But there are a few analyses on the agreement….

Hundreds of dedicated diplomats, intelligence and military officers from numerous nations have been helping to shepherd the Afghan and U.S. governments towards the agreements signed February 29. I have been working on it since May 2009 and wanted to explain what the US-Afghan and US-Taliban agreements mean with my context of knowing the original plan devised over a decade ago by the Afghan government.

Deciphering the Afghanistan Peace Agreements: How the Afghan Government Got the Taliban to Enter Peace Talks

There is more……

The agreement outlines two sets of commitments. The US has pledged to withdraw one-third of its approximately 13,000 troops in 135 days, and the remaining 8,600 before the end of April 2021. America’s coalition partners would withdraw their troops by then as well. The US further agreed to withdraw all ‘private security contractors, trainers, [and] advisors’ from the country and work towards removing sanctions on the Taliban and releasing Taliban prisoners.

For its part, the Taliban has committed to doing all it can to ensure that terrorist organisations don’t use Afghan territory to target the US or its allies. The Taliban also agreed not to cooperate with or support individuals associated with such groups, including al-Qaeda, which was based in Afghanistan when the Taliban were in power and used the country to train those responsible for the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US that killed nearly 3,000 people. The Taliban did not agree, however, to any limits on their military capabilities now or in the future. Nor did they agree to recognise the legitimacy of Afghanistan’s current government.

How to leave Afghanistan

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Here We Go Afghanistan

We have a peace deal or more likely a ceasefire deal….after several days on the books how does the deal seem to look to the world?

US intel says that the Taleban will not hold to the terms of the agreement…….

The U.S. government has collected persuasive intelligence that the Taliban do not intend to honor the promises they have made in the recently signed deal with the United States, three American officials tell NBC News, undercutting what has been days of hopeful talk by President Donald Trump and his top aides.

“They have no intention of abiding by their agreement,” said one official briefed on the intelligence, which two others described as explicit evidence shedding light on the Taliban’s intentions.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/officials-u-s-has-persuasive-intel-taliban-does-not-intend-n1150051

And then there is another story that contradicts what the intel people are saying…..

Days after halting all offensive operations to ink a “peace deal,” the U.S. military has launched an air strike against Taliban fighters in Helmand after the jihadist group conducted dozens of attacks against Afghan forces there.

Resolute Support’s spokesman called for the Taliban to “uphold their commitments” and not increase attacks, even though the U.S.-Taliban agreement signed last weekend does not include such language.

The drone strike hit Taliban fighters in Naha-i-Saraj, a contested district in Helmand province, as they “were actively attacking an ANDSF checkpoint,” Col. Sonny Leggett, the spokesman for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and Resolute Support tweeted today.

U.S. military perplexed by Taliban living up to letter of agreement

As long as we are talking about the war in Afghanistan…..why not take look at a ‘what if’?

Here’s a little thought experiment. Imagine it’s Sept. 12, 2001, and America is in deep shock over the destruction of the World Trade Center the previous day. George W. Bush goes on national TV and declares:

“Now is not the time to lose our heads. Like Pearl Harbor, the death of thousands of innocent people in Lower Manhattan is a crime that will live in infamy. But our response must be carefully calibrated. With that in mind, we are sending teams of commandos to Afghanistan with the sole purpose of apprehending Osama bin Laden and his top henchmen. Once they’re arrested – and, mark my words, they will be – we will bring them to New York to stand trial just a few yards from where their despicable act of mass murder occurred. We have no quarrel with the people of Afghanistan. But we will have no dealings with the Taliban government as long as it harbors despicable terrorist groups like Al Qaeda. We are confident that our allies will do the same.”

The result of such a well-calibrated response would have been no war in Afghanistan, no prisoners in Guantánamo Bay, and almost certainly no war in Iraq either. Without earlier conflicts to pave the way, intervention in Libya, Syria, and Yemen would have all proved more difficult. Countless deaths would have been avoided and entire societies spared.

Afghanistan: Imagine There’s No Future

I am proud that we have tried to end this endless war…..I just hope all sides keep calm and carry on……

But all the “good” news will US troops finally leave the country and return to their families?

At the core of the two documents, according to people familiar with their contents, is a timeline for what should happen over the next 18 months, what kinds of attacks are prohibited by both sides and, most important, how the United States will share information about its troop locations with the Taliban.

While it may sound odd that the American military is sharing troop locations with its enemy of 18 years, the goal is to give the Taliban information that would allow it to prevent attacks during the withdrawal. Mr. Pompeo described the annexes last week as “military implementation documents.”

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/a-secret-accord-with-the-taliban-when-and-how-the-us-would-leave-afghanistan/ar-BB10UfgA

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

After The Afghan Deal

We have a peace deal in Afghanistan with the Taleban…..good news if the deal holds…..

Now for the news after the ink on the deal…..The troops could be coming home in about 14 months….

With a peace deal signed Saturday, the US occupation of Afghanistan has entered the beginning of the end, at least ideally. If all goes well, all American troops will be out of Afghanistan within 14 months.

The ink on the paper is hardly dry, but US officials are already looking to define the terms of withdrawing from the deal, saying the pullout is conditional on the Taliban meeting many commitments along the way.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is already predicting a “rocky and bumpy” future in Afghanistan, which seems like it will give the US plenty of pretexts to back out of the peace deal down the line if they decide not to withdraw after all.

The plan has always been to cut US troop levels in the lead-up to the 2020 election, and it will likely be seen as preferable by the administration to do this as part of a broader deal, even if they don’t ultimately intend to finish the pullout.

Rumors abound of a secret annex to the peace deal allowing the US to keep some troops in Afghanistan, and while the Pentagon denies knowledge of this, there has yet to be any conclusive proof that secret annexes don’t exist.

(antiwar.com)

The Hawks in Congress are rolling in the seats…..they cannot let their owners in the M-IC lose their profits…..

19 years of US occupation of Afghanistan has built up some momentum behind the conflict, and despite how poorly the war has been going, there is still a sense among hawks that any deal that ends the war must be a bad one.

This has President Trump facing lobbying, some quiet and some not-so-quiet, from Republican hawks urging him to find a way to back out of the peace process and keep US troops on the ground.

That would surely be seen by most Taliban as a breach, and would restart the war. For the hawks, that’s likely not accidental, as many see eternal war in Afghanistan as a vital US interest.

President Trump is still answering questions with the catch-all “we’ll see what happens,” but has seen the pullout as politically important in the 2020 election. His commitment to peace clearly comes and goes, with previous abandonment of the Afghan peace a perfect example, but wanting troop cuts has been a persistent matter.

(antiwar.com)

Is this a violation?

U.S. forces conducted an airstrike against Taliban fighters in Helmand, Afghanistan, Wednesday, the first such strike since the two sides signed a historic peace deal.

The airstrike was conducted as a “defensive” measure as Taliban fighters were “actively attacking” an Afghan government checkpoint, Colonel Sonny Legget, the spokesman for American forces in Afghanistan, said.

https://abcnews.go.com/ABCNews/us-forces-conduct-airstrike-taliban-soldiers-days-agreement/story

The beat goes on….and the war will continue…..this whole thing was nothing but an election ploy……

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

That Afghan Peace Deal

After much anticipation from us foreign policy wonks a peace deal has been inked between the Taleban and them US…..

US officials and Taliban representatives have signed an agreement after months of negotiations in Qatar’s capital that is aimed at ending the United States’s longest war, fought in Afghanistan since 2001.

Saturday’s agreement, signed in Doha in the presence of leaders from Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey, India, Indonesia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, will pave the way for the US to gradually withdraw its troops.

(aje.com)

This is great news…..but in case the media does not offer the conditions/wording of the peace deal I will help you out.

A comprehensive peace agreement is made of four parts:

1. Guarantees and enforcement mechanisms that will prevent the use of the soil of Afghanistan by any group or individual against the security of the United States and its allies.

2. Guarantees, enforcement mechanisms, and announcement of a timeline for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Afghanistan.

3. After the announcement of guarantees for a complete withdrawal of foreign forces and timeline in the presence of international witnesses, and guarantees and the announcement in the presence of international witnesses that Afghan soil will not be used against the security of the United States and its allies, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which is not recognized by the United States as a state and is known as the Taliban will start intra-Afghan negotiations with Afghan sides on March 10, 2020, which corresponds to Rajab 15, 1441 on the Hijri Lunar calendar and Hoot 20, 1398 on the Hijri Solar calendar.

4. A permanent and comprehensive ceasefire will be an item on the agenda of the intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations. The participants of intra-Afghan negotiations will discuss the date and modalities of a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire, including joint implementation mechanisms, which will be announced along with the completion and agreement over the future political roadmap of Afghanistan.

But if you need to see the entire wording of the agreement then I can help here as well…..https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/02/taliban-peace-agreement-200229134403285.html

I think this is a good thing…..after 2 decades any way home for our troops is a good thing.

The group BringOurTroopsHome is also pleased with the deal….

Sgt. Dan McKnight, Afghanistan war veteran and founder of BringOurTroopsHome.US, Saturday praised President Donald Trump’s announcement of a peace agreement with Taliban forces that could lead to total withdrawal of U.S. forces in Afghanistan some time next year. The announcement came a day after McKnight blasted Congresswoman Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., for attempting to publicly undercut Trump’s efforts.

“After nearly two decades, we’re grateful that our Commander-in-Chief stood with the American people and with America’s fighting men and women and their families,” McKnight said, “and ignored the wolf-crying demands of chicken hawks such as Liz Cheney, whose family profiteered from hundreds of millions of dollars in military contracts, literally making money off wars they sent other people to fight.”

“The demands Ms. Cheney tried to dictate to the president earlier this week were designed to do one thing,” McKnight said, “prevent him from keeping his campaign promise to end the longest war in American history and bring our troops home. Thank you for listening to the American people, Mr. President, and ignoring Chicken Hawk Cheney.”

Now it is time to start searching for ways to end the other endless wars we are still fighting.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Peace Comes To Afghanistan

We have a peace deal……or should we more correctly call it a cessation of violence for a couple of weeks that could lead to a broader deal…..

Some have  asked….a peace deal but at what price?

Bitter experience shows that a “rotten compromise” will carry within it the seeds of future war.

Albert Einstein warned humanity to beware of rotten compromises. Philosopher Avishai Margalit sought to explain this warning in an entire book. With the U.S. and the Taliban poised to sign a peace agreement, now more than ever is the time to be wary of a “rotten compromise” on Afghanistan.

Rotten compromises, in the words of Margalit, are agreements that establish or maintain an inhuman regime, a regime associated with cruelty and humiliation, a regime that does not treat humans as humans. But a rotten compromise involves two sides – an active perpetrator committing the brutality, and the passive participant who supports and signs an agreement that maintains an inhuman regime.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2020/02/25/a_us-taliban_deal_what_price_for_peace_115068.html

Could this, if successful, be the road to a peace deal that would bring the US troops home…..and the same question could be asked……at what price?

This week: recent developments in the original 9/11 conflict, the war in Afghanistan. News reports suggest that the Trump administration is close to signing some kind of deal with the Taliban. But it’s not a peace accord. The emerging details of the deal—and the preemptive concessions the U.S. is apparently willing to make for the Taliban to agree to it—suggest that the deal is less about securing a lasting peace and more about political and diplomatic cover in anticipation of an exit decided on long ago. First, some background.

https://vitalinterests.thedispatch.com/p/are-we-headed-toward-an-ignoble-end

On a bummer side of this deal……

Arguments about the Afghanistan peace deal that the US is about to sign with the Taliban continue, with substantial concerns that secret annexes exist to the peace language which would threaten the deal’s sustainability.

Recent reports claimed that among a series of secret annexes, the US included language saying they’re not actually going to leave Afghanistan militarily, and that this seeming deal-breaker was accepted on the grounds it would be a secret.

Pressed on the matter, top Pentagon figures claimed complete ignorance on it. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Gen. Mark Milley both claimed to have no idea if there were ultimately any secret annexes.

Esper said he knew there were/are annexes to the final deal, but that he doesn’t know if any of them are formally secret or not, saying he would ask the Secretary of State at some point.

The chance of our troops coming home is appealing and I personally do not care about the consequences of our leaving……our troops have been there long enough…..long enough so that if progress could have been made it would have….it was not….time for us to depart.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

There Is An Afghan Deal!

Could his be the beginning of something good?

The 7-day “reduction in violence” negotiated between the United States and the Taliban is set to begin on Feb. 22, an Afghan government official who spoke on condition of anonymity told Task & Purpose on Monday.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen reported on Monday that the US and Taliban have finalized the language of the Afghanistan peace deal. The US has not confirmed this yet, but had indicated in recent days that such a deal was imminent.

Afghan CEO Abdullah Abdullah confirmed the deal is finalized, saying that his understanding is that the signature depends on the success of the reduction of violence. If all goes well, the deal should be signed by all sides by the end of February.

The exact language of the deal has never been public, though indications are that it was effectively finalized in October of last year and has not substantially changed. The deal sees the US commit to a withdrawal from Afghanistan, negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban, and a commitment by the Taliban to fight al-Qaeda and ISIS to keep them out of the country.

The deal should end a 19-year US occupation of Afghanistan, and bring American troops home. It is expected that NATO forces will be withdrawing with the US, and the Afghan factions will reach a power-sharing deal.

This is a good start….and I hope that it can be expanded and the US troops can finally come home for that much needed rest.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Do We Have An Afghan Deal?

We have just posted on 2 more American deaths in Afghanistan and the next day there is word coming out that there is conditional peace deal with the Taleban….

US insists Taliban must reduce violence levels this month

The Taliban has publicly requested that the US provide clarification on their stance on the peace process. A deal which by all accounts was finished months ago, the Taliban are interested in where the US is going on the final deal.

It’s reasonable to ask, as since backing out of the last deal, President Trump has tried to add new conditions. Concerningly, Trump is now approving the deal, but only conditionally, and wants the Taliban to unilaterally cut violence in February first.

The US is planning troop cuts either way, but a concrete peace deal would oblige the US to actually leave Afghanistan, and almost certainly will establish a timetable for that. It would put an end to the US changing its mind on the war, as it has time and again over the last 19 years.

For the Taliban, the question is likely not so much about if they can cut violence, but if this time, meeting a Trump condition will net them anything. Trump had previously conditioned the deal on a ceasefire, and when the Taliban agreed he just added more demands.

(antiwar.com)

How close are we to a deal?

We have heard that it has been close before to fall apart only days later….so again how close are we?

If Trump and his bunch can find peace deal for Afghanistan war then they will have my undying thanks….any time we can find an end to a war then the props should go to those that find a way out.

And then there is the coming election…..and Afghanistan…..

Negotiation between the US and the Taliban is picking up pace. A partial ceasefire is expected to be agreed upon soon, and there is substantial hope that an outright peace deal could be reached shortly thereafter, if the US wants it.

US officials seem to be keen to emphasize the ceasefire, as opposed to the peace deal.That’s because President Trump is determined to carry out troop cuts ahead of the November election, and that’s the case whether or not the peace deal is reached.

Of course, the peace deal is already there to be had, and Trump has rejected it and added additional demands. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani noted “notable progress” on the peace deal front, saying the Taliban had made a proposal to deliver on President Trump’s demand for a violence reduction.

There is a growing risk that, as President Trump demands more from the Taliban, he may overreach and derail the peace process. This is possible, and it’s also possible Trump will just keep dragging on the war, even if troop cuts are in line before the election.

(antiwar.com)

One point….the Taleban protected the barbaric al-Qaeda and they attacked the US on 9/11 and now we are making nice with the Taleban….but will not talk with Iran….why is that?  (I know but do you?)

Let’s do the right thing and end this war once and for all.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”