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”

More Afghanistan

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.

US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, the negotiator of the near-finished first peace process, is looking to accelerate things this time, stopping off in Kabul on Wednesday to meet with Afghan officials about the process on his way to Doha, where he will meet with the Taliban.

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.

(antiwar.com)

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.

(AJE)

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.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/taliban-abduct-45-people-govt-134943143.html

While we talk the violence continues….while the violence continues then our troops are in danger…..

I am all for diplomacy…..but it needs to be within some sort of framework and so far I have not seen any framework only to talk and continue as always…..

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Afghanistan And Turkey

That is turkey with a small “T”…the bird not the country.

Amidst the deals on Black Friday another one is announced by the president in a visit to war torn Afghanistan during Thanksgiving…..

Talks were ended abruptly in September….as usual I had written about that situation as well……https://lobotero.com/2019/09/10/more-on-afghanistan/

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.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

That Foggy Mountain Breakdown–Afghanistan

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.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2019/09/11/the_breakdown_of_ustaliban_talks_buys_time_to_reset_the_afghanistan_strategy_114737.html

Was Trump right to cancel these talks?

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.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-09-09/trump-was-right-to-cancel-the-taliban-talks

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.

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Closing Thought–19Aug19

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.

https://www.fdd.org/analysis/2019/08/14/in-afghanistan-no-deal-is-better-than-a-bad-deal/

I disagree.

Any deal is a better deal than we have now.

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.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/17/trump-hints-america-close-to-deal-with-taliban-others-question-peace

That was last weekend and we enter a new week…..and we know that Trump changes his mind on a dime…..will we see and end of the longest war?

In closing….50 years ago Jimi Hendrix took to the stage at Woodstock….

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Afghanistan—the Up And Down

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.

Hopes for a finalized deal are nothing new, but both sides are now saying they believe that a peace agreement will be reached, and signed, at some point in the this week. This will then lead to work on direct Taliban-Afghan talks on power-sharing.

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.

(antiwar.com)

Then the grim news came out today…..NO DEAL…..

Hopes that the end of Eid al-Adha would lead to an announced peace deal in Afghanistan has not happened, at least not yet, with the latest round of Doha talks ending Monday with the Taliban saying that “both sides agreed to consult their respective leaderships for next steps.”

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

(antiwar.com)

Illustrates the news from Afghanistan…it is good…it is bad….it is up….it is down.

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Peace In Our Time?

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.

(antiwar.com)

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.

(tolonews.com)

Wait!

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.

https://www.tolonews.com/afghanistan/nato-will-not-leave-afghanistan-until-job-done-kay

WTF?

“Lego Ergo Scribo”