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.
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.
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.
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.
A few months ago the peace talks between the US and the Taleban came to an end when the president called off the meetings…..then the “Afghanistan Papers” dropped and peed all over our whole narrative about the war…..and then our special envoy has pushed for a renewal of the talks….
US peace talks with the Afghan Taliban were going on in some shape or form secretly in recent weeks, but now that President Trump has publicly confirmed them, more specific details are being offered.
The Doha visit marks what US officials are terming the formal resumption of the Afghan peace talks, despite them having resumed awhile ago. The Taliban have expressed an expectation that the talks simply build off what was already agreed upon in September, when President Trump declared the process “dead,” and since Khalilzad is running talks past and present, it’s likely he’ll want to avoid a lot of reinventing the wheel after months of very productive talks.
President Trump has set up the expectation that the new talks would involve a ceasefire, and that’s also something Afghan officials are pushing for. US negotiators have previously warned a ceasefire right away might not be attainable, though Khalilzad likely will be obliged to bring that up, given the number of times it has been reported in the past week.
As usual while we are seeking a peaceful resolution of our time in Afghanistan the Taleban keeps on keeping on…..
A powerful suicide bombing targeted an under-construction medical facility near Bagram airbase north of the capital Kabul, the US military has said.
While there were no US or coalition casualties, a medical base being built for locals was badly damaged, Resolute Support, the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan, said in a statement on Wednesday.
The US airbase remains secure, the statement said.
And their violence is not limited to the US troops and bases…..
The Taliban abducted as many as 45 elderly family members of a late Afghan government employee who were attending his funeral, officials said Tuesday.
The Taliban singled out the old men from a funeral procession carrying the deceased employee’s coffin to a graveyard, according to interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi. The young men in the group were not taken, he said.
The Taliban have consistently warned people not to attend the funerals of anyone working with the Kabul government, according to Payghambarpul Khuram, the head of intelligence in Jawzjan province, where the kidnappings took place.
A New Hope has been given to the conflict for an ending that will make all sides happy…..well the hope is more for a return to talks than for an actual peace agreement….
President Donald Trump made a surprise visit to Afghanistan to spend time with US troops on Thanksgiving, the AP reports. Trump arrived at Bagram Air Field shortly after 8:30pm local time and spent more than two-and-a-half hours on the ground. Reporters were under strict instructions to keep the trip a secret to ensure his safety. The visit comes more than two months after Trump abruptly broke off peace talks with the Taliban after a bombing in Kabul killed 12 people, including an American soldier. But Trump announced at the visit that he has resumed peace talks with the Taliban, per the New York Times.
“The Taliban wants to make a deal, and we’re meeting with them,” Trump said while meeting with Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani. “We’re going to stay until such time as we have a deal, or we have total victory, and they want to make a deal very badly.” He also reiterated his wish to lower US troop levels from around 12,000 or 13,000 to 8,600. Trump’s visit—which included him playing the traditional role of feeding mashed potatoes and turkey to troops—comes at a pivotal moment in his presidency, with the impeachment inquiry moving quickly.
This is excellent news.
I just hope it is for real and not some political ploy to gain favor during the impeachment thing…..
The US and Taliban had several months of negotiations with one another in Doha earlier this year, culminating in an all-but-finished deal, though President Trump withdrew from those talks at the brink of a deal, declaring the process “dead.”
At the time, officials said it was because what was decided didn’t include an immediate ceasefire, though neither the Taliban nor US ceased fire. President Trump is now reporting that the Taliban want to do a ceasefire as part of a deal.
Like I said…..hopefully it is not just a statement to try and change the political discussion and is really an attempt to end our longest war…..our troops and the nation deserve more than an illusion.
There is a wealth of opinions on the breakdown of the talks between the US and the Taleban…..all said the common opinion is that Trump was right cancel these talks for it gives the US time to revamp its Afghan strategy…..
U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Saturday that he had called off talks with the Taliban at Camp David. The meeting had probably been arranged to finalise a deal for the start of a U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The deal apparently had four main pillars: a Taliban guarantee not to allow foreign fighters to use Afghanistan to launch attacks outside the country; the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces; an intra-Afghan dialogue; and a permanent ceasefire.
The question marks over that plan are the credibility of any Taliban commitments, the exclusion of the Afghan government from the peace talks, and what happens next.
These problems are well known to any observer of Afghanistan and certainly to the U.S. lead negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad. He may well have reached the best deal he could with the Taliban, but that doesn’t mean it was one worth taking. Fortunately, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Trump seem to have a perspective that’s different from the negotiating team’s.
The new peace agreement thus far, painstakingly negotiated by U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad – a skilled former ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations – was between the U.S. and the Taliban only. The Camp David meeting was supposed to be a turning point, wherein the Afghan government of President Ashraf Ghani and the Taliban could come together, echoing former President Bill Clinton’s bringing together of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the government of Israel in 2000, also at Camp David. (That attempt, too, died stillborn.)
The deal on the table reportedly included a U.S. withdrawal of its 14,000 troops, including a down-payment of around 5,000 leaving within a few months after the accord was completed. The Taliban were to provide guarantees that there would be no return to creating “safe havens” for groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (which is rising in prominence within Afghanistan). There was also a provision to free thousands of Taliban prisoners being held by the Afghan government. All of this was to be cemented with a prolonged cease-fire – and it was that portion of the agreement that the Taliban failed to honor, continuing their attacks and killing another U.S. service member last week.
One of the media’s main sticking points is that there was NO Afghan government representation…..but once the US takes it on the lame the Taleban will once again become the government in power in Afghanistan.
Really the only thing to worry about is to take measures to assure the US that there will be no safe haven for terrorists like AQ and ISIS.
The governmental form matters not….for Afghanistan will be Afghanistan.
The news is that the peace deal the US was working on with the Taleban has fallen through and the word is that we are staying for the long run.
But I subscribe to a Neocon hot spot, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and they published an article that I disagree with on all levels…..
Two years ago this month, Zalmay Khalilzad, the distinguished diplomat who has served as America’s ambassador to both Iraq and Afghanistan, praised President Trump for adopting “a realistic position regarding peace talks” with the Taliban, “moving away from President Barack Obama’s pursuit of reconciliation regardless of the deteriorating military situation.”
A year later, Mr. Khalilzad was appointed U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation. Since then, he has adopted an unrealistic position regarding peace talks with the Taliban, moving toward President Obama’s pursuit of reconciliation regardless of the deteriorating military situation.
If I’m wrong about this, I’ll be pleased to eat my words. But the evidence is compelling.
Our troops do not need some world changing deal….they need to come home and get a rest from the silliness the US has been playing at for the last 15 years.
Stop playing into the hands of the defense industry….care more for the lives of troops than for the profits of corporations.
The word is that Trump wants out of Afghanistan……it will look good on the resume for 2020…..
Donald Trump has met his peace envoy to Afghanistan and top security advisers to discuss progress in the latest round of talks with the Taliban, fuelling speculation that a deal to end America’s longest war might be within reach.
“Many on the opposite side of this 19-year war, and us, are looking to make a deal – if possible!” Trump tweeted after the meeting at his golf club in New Jersey, where the group is believed to have discussed a draft peace plan.
The big news for the MSM today was that Starbucks will bring out their Autumn stable “pumpkin spice latte”…..really? This is news why?
But you were slobbering over the idea of a pumpkin spice latte…real news has hit.
I have been waiting for some good news out of Afghanistan for 18+ years…..and then word came…..
Just 4 days ago some good news was reported…..it said that the peace deal with the Taleban could be signed within days…..
Peace talks between the US and Taliban are going to be taking a little time off for the Eid al-Adha holiday. When they come back after the holiday, the Afghan peace deal is going to be the focus again, and the expectation is it will be finalized.
That’s a key issue. The deal with the US involves removing foreign troops, Taliban keeping foreign Islamists out of Afghanistan, and a ceasefire. The power-sharing deal is the last aspect of peace, and the Taliban had long resisted entering such talks until the US pullout was agreed upon.
Details are still emerging on the most recent talks, and are likely to do so for the next couple of days. There was no indication that any specific obstacle remains, and indications are the peace deal looks roughly the same as it has after the last couple of rounds.
The deal would see foreign troops withdraw, in return for the Taliban keeping ISIS and al-Qaeda out of Afghanistan. The hope was that a ceasefire might’ve been announced this week, and that Taliban-Afghan power-sharing talks would begin
Illustrates the news from Afghanistan…it is good…it is bad….it is up….it is down.
I wish I could say that with the urge to laugh out loud…..
Sorry I had to borrow a line from UK’s Chamberlain in 1938….but this time I am talking about America’s longest war ever….Afghanistan.
The latest round of talks between the US and the Taliban have ended with what is being called a “roadmap to peace” for Afghanistan. The agreement is non-binding, but points toward a formal agreement being not far down the road.
The talks effectively have an agreement on the US withdrawal and the Taliban fighting against ISIS and al-Qaeda, and commits both sides to a deal to end civilian casualties and negotiate with the Afghan government on power-sharing.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the head US negotiator, is expressing hopes that the deal will ultimately be finalized by September 1. This would be the day for signing the deal, though when everything would be implemented is still unclear.
A final deal is expected to both put a timeline to everything, and provide some mechanism of international guarantors for the peace deal, ending 18 years of US-led occupation of Afghanistan.
Where was the “elected” Afghan government in these talks?
I asked and I received…..
The Afghan peace process “must be fully Afghan-owned and Afghan-led,” former President Hamid Karzai said at the 8th World Peace Forum in China on Tuesday, according to Xinhua report.
“Progress is there between the United States and the Taliban, and hopefully, it is one that will ensure lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan,” Karzai said.
The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad concluded the seventh round of talks with the Taliban negotiators on July 9 in Qatar. He was cited by reports as saying that the Afghans are closer to reaching peace than any time in the past.
Khalilzad said on July 8 that he had “lots of progress” on four key issues under debate in the negotiations.
The four issues which have been discussed by the US and the Taliban negotiators in the seven rounds of talks are counterterrorism assurances, troop withdrawal, a ceasefire and intra-Afghan talks.
Karzai lauded efforts made to push for national reconciliation and bring about peace in Afghanistan, such as the two-day intra-Afghan dialogue opened on Sunday in Qatar’s capital Doha with the presence of a 17-member negotiating team from the Taliban.
Did I see that the Taleban was fighting against AQ and ISIS?
And yet the enemy of our enemy is still our enemy…..then explain to all of us just why the Hell are we still fighting and dying in this region?
NATO has a different take on when to leave…..
Acting Defense Minister Assadullah Khalid, the Resolute Support Commander Gen. Scott Miller, and NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative Nicholas Kay on Wednesday visited Ghazni to assess the security of the central province.
Addressing the meeting, Kay said NATO will not leave Afghanistan until the job is done.
“We are not leaving. We are not leaving until the job is done. If the Taliban think they can just wait us out, then they have miscalculated,” he said.
Meanwhile, the acting defense minister said they visited the province to show to the security forces that the government is supporting them.
Negotiations have been ongoing for months, and have established a growing understanding with the Taliban. The US and Taliban have the framework of a deal, where the US withdraws from Afghanistan and the Taliban keeps the ISIS and al-Qaeda out.
Pompeo’s talk of brokering peace between the Taliban and the Afghan government is unusual, as the US has largely kept this on the back-burner, and the Taliban has shown no interest in talking with the Ghani government.
There have been some talks involving an Afghan committee this week. The Ghani government has been reluctant to endorse the US negotiations so far, complaining that the US isn’t directly including them in decision-making.
If anyone in DC wanted this war to end…then it would! It is that damn simple.
Or maybe some sort of international solution….I mean after all we have international partners in Afghanistan……
We cannot fight our way to peace and stability in Afghanistan. If we have learned anything after 40 years of continuous war there, it is that a myopic focus on military solutions will not lead to peace. The path to stability does not depend on the number of U.S. troops in the field or the number of Taliban leaders killed.
Sustainable peace in Afghanistan requires an economy that can satisfy the needs of its people. While Afghanistan is rich in natural resources, it cannot harvest them to the fullest without the stability and good governance required for business to grow and thrive.
Or better idea is that the US get out of everywhere…..bring the troops home for a well deserved rest…..
Many commentators argue that the U.S. political system has become increasingly polarized, pointing to the prolonged shutdown of the federal government as evidence. However, the difference between Democrats and Republicans in Washington is one of style, not substance, as revealed by the history of bipartisan support for U.S. intervention and occupation abroad. Republican administrations may be more frequently associated with U.S. invasions, but establishment Democrats have long backed the policies of U.S. imperialism.
This is, in part, because U.S. interventionist foreign policy is driven by capitalist ideals, shared across the aisle by those in power in Washington. In order to sustain a profitable capitalist economy, there must be a continuous expansion of markets and increase in consumption. This capitalist imperative has been influential in shaping a U.S. foreign policy of invasion, destruction and resource extraction during open-ended wars. In 1971, the Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano famously described this extractive relationship as “the open veins of Latin America.” The rhetoric of defending democracy, which was used to justify the invasion of Syria as well as the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, has always been a cover story for neo-colonialism.
After decades of catastrophe, the same basic strategy endures. Donald Trump’s presidency makes plain that global supremacy has become an end in itself, unmoored from the interests of the American people and most of humanity. “Our military dominance must be unquestioned,” Trump has declared, “and I mean unquestioned.” Trump has stripped supremacy of ethical pretense and strategic justification. He values it for its own sake, as a gesture of brute domination.
What have liberals to say about this? Scandalously little. For decades, they have failed to stop war and violence for the same reason they have failed to reverse soaring inequality. At best, they have offered solutions inadequate to the scale of the problem. At worst, they have denied there was a problem, casting endless war as “global leadership.” Few Democrats will admit, for example, that not one power in the Middle East poses an existential threat to the United States, not one merits devoting precious lives and scarce resources to such misadventures as Saudi Arabia’s proxy war in Yemen.
This sounds a bit like some tourist trap in the making, right? Or maybe one of those romantic dramas on the Hallmark Channel, right?
As a history buff I am always trying to learn more about American history….the stuff that was seldom taught in schools for various reasons…..
We all learn in school about the surrender of the Confederate forces at Appomattox in 1865…..but how many know of the peace conference before that?
Civil War historians have dismissed the Hampton Roads Peace Conference of February 3, 1865, in which President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of State William H. Seward met with Southern representatives or “commissioners,” as a fruitless and relatively unimportant episode occurring two months prior to the surrender of the Confederate armies.  One prominent scholar in his history of the Lincoln presidency has completely ignored the meeting.  Other historians cite the results of the conference as additional proof of Lincoln’s “strategy of unconditional surrender” in the war.  David Donald in his magisterial biography of Lincoln asserts that the president did not expect to achieve any real results at Hampton Roads. According to Donald, Lincoln’s purpose in meeting with the rebel commissioners was not peacemaking; it was “to undermine the Jefferson Davis administration” by appealing to the discontented Southern masses’ longing for peace. “He wanted to raise their hopes, if necessary through a campaign of misinformation,” including the prospect “that at least the remnants of their ‘peculiar institution’ could still be saved.” 
Historians are probably correct in concluding that an end of the conflict based on Abraham Lincoln’s terms—the restoration of the Union and the destruction of slavery—was not possible until the surrender of Confederate armies in April. At Hampton Roads, Southern representatives, on instructions from Jefferson Davis, rejected out of hand any peace that failed to recognize Confederate independence or provide for a cease-fire. Though the Hampton Roads Conference did not produce peace, it was more important than historians have judged, particularly in regard to Lincoln’s purposes and concerns during the last few months of the war and the Northern reaction to his peace effort. Furthermore, a history of the conference can provide insights into Lincoln’s late-war leadership, his emancipation and reconstruction policies, and his standing among contemporaries before his apotheosis as an American icon.
The report concluded that both an increase in suicide attacks, mainly from ISIS, and a sharp increase in US airstrikes were driving the record deaths, with over 1,000 casualties just from US air operations.
The Taliban were blamed for the largest number of civilian casualties, at 37%, which is in keeping with UN reports of the past. The Afghan government, US, and NATO were blamed for 24%, and ISIS was blamed for a further 20%. This is a huge number of ISIS killings given how comparatively small the group is.
The UN said a particularly concerning fact was that the civilian casualties from US airstrikes were overwhelmingly women and children. This, however, should be unsurprising, as the US tends to define adult men in Afghanistan as “suspects” or “militants” simply by virtue of being in a strike.
With those numbers rising the parties involved are meeting and discussing an end to the hostilities……
18+ years into the US war in Afghanistan, they’ve gone from the Taliban denying negotiations were even taking place, to confirming they are. Progress is now being confirmed by both sides, with a basic framework of a war-ending deal in place.
That deal, specifics not-withstanding, are that the US would withdraw all troops from Afghanistan, and the Taliban would ensure that neither al-Qaeda nor ISIS could operate inside of the country in the future.
Having Mullah Baradar and US negotiator head Zalmay Khalilzad sitting across the table from one another only underscores how serious the talks are getting, and this latest round of talks is expected to continue hammering out specific details.
I read dissertation papers that grad students submit and this one covers the “Long War” in Afghanistan and the possibility of a peaceful settlement…..
During the last week of January, the news was awash with stories covering the current administration’s ostensibly unprecedented progress with Special Envoy Khalilzad’s recent talks with the Taliban and their Pakistani sponsors in Qatar. In a statement that the U.S. Embassy Kabul released on the last Monday in January, Khalilzad stated that the peace talks had made progress on important issues and that the negotiators had agreed on a framework for further talks in February. In the eighteenth year of a long and stalemated war, there are reasons to be sanguine about these developments, to some degree, simply because this seems to have been the most talk about peace among the belligerents yet in this long hard war. And Mr. Khalilzad is indeed one of the best people to be the U.S. envoy leading the talks given his Afghan origins and years of experience as ambassador in Afghanistan and Iraq
However, there are also reasons for much caution and some alarm about the current progress and the potential for peace in Afghanistan since the deliberations and decisions about many previously intractable issues still require prudence and patience. These details may potentially augur the gravest consequences for Afghanistan, its neighbors, and the U.S. Several things of great importance have yet to be worked out. There is still much uncertainty in what outcomes these talks will result in, and looming yet elusive peace also brings up questions and concerns about the Taliban’s and their sponsor’s true intentions.
This could be good news….or it could be just a lull in a continuing situation….
light at the end of an excruciatingly long tunnel, the prospect of American withdrawal from Afghanistan now seems to glimmer ahead. Several rounds of negotiation in Russia, Qatar, and elsewhere have produced the outlines of an agreement. Details are unknown, but by all accounts, the accord will be based around a simple deal: the United States pulls its troops out and the Taliban pledges to never again host terror groups.
This would be a most un-American peace deal. Rather than a declaration of victory, it would be a reluctant acceptance of stubborn facts on the ground. Afghans repelled British invaders in the 19th century and Soviet invaders in the 20th. For nearly two decades they have held the United States at bay. By leaving Afghanistan to its fate, we would be admitting failure. This horrifies many in Washington. Americans fervently embrace the illusion that their country can succeed at anything — including crushing mountain fighters thousands of miles away who believe they are patriots resisting a foreigner invader.
I wish I could see this as a good thing for the people of Afghanistan….but I cannot….the Taleban when returned to power will revert to their extreme shelf…..a restrictive form of Islam will once again rule the land….
Afghanistan has another worry….the hostilities between India and Pakistan…..there is a possibility that hostilities could spill over into Afghanistan….
Fearing a dangerous spillover impacts from increased tensions between India and Pakistan, war-ravaged Afghanistan has advised its nuclear-armed neighbors to exercise the utmost restraint.
The only good thing is that American troops will come home and get the rest they richly deserve.
Let’s say that a peace plan is negotiated……what does that mean to US troops?
Ongoing US-Taliban peace negotiations, designed to end the 18-year Afghan War, has a new proposal, with the Pentagon having finally offered a formal plan for withdrawing US forces from Afghanistan.
As with the usual Pentagon plans, there seems to be reticence toward actually doing this in a timely fashion. The plan reportedly would have half of the 14,000 US troops leaves Afghanistan within a matter of months, but then the rest would stay for as long as five years.
And that might be a tough sell for the Taliban. After resisting a US occupation for 18 years, the Taliban’s demand is to get the US out of the country, and while the logistics of that might take awhile, five years is a very long time.
If anything, such a long time is likely to raise fears that the Pentagon is dragging its feet specifically to give officials time to change their minds and dishonor the deal, and keeping thousands of troops inside Afghanistan means Trump, or his successor, could end up resuming the war.
US troops are the key to any peace deal with the Taleban…..
Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for Taliban’s political office in Qatar, told reporters in Qatar that the war will come to an end in the country and the Taliban fighters will join the ranks of the Afghan army if the two sides sealed an agreement on the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.
He said talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government is an internal issue and that Taliban is currently carrying out talks with the US about troop withdrawal.
“When the occupation is ended, there is a full withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan and there is an Afghan-inclusive Islamic government in the country, I think there is no need for any military operation and war. So, there will be a sustainable peace in the country and all the military people and our people, they will be included in a national army,” said Shaheen.