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Trump’s new problem: Pompeo may not sign Afghan deal with Taliban

Trump’s new problem: Pompeo may not sign Afghan deal with Taliban

  • Trump forgets the Afghan proverb: that the Afghans are at peace only when they are at war each other!
  • He is trying to strike a peace deal with the terror group which harbored Osama bin-Laden and helped al Qaeda.
  • He thinks if he could showcase the deal and bring back American soldiers, it would guarantee him a second term next year.
  • Trump may outsource Afghanistan to Pakistan which would have to shift focus from Kashmir to Kabul!

New Delhi: If the deal goes through, America will create world history by smoking the peace pipe with an untrustworthy terrorist outfit which supported the al Qaeda kill thousands and destroy many US landmarks on September 11, 2001!

The US has already spent nearly $975 billion on its Afghan war since 2001.

The Presidential election in a turbulent and violent Afghanistan is scheduled for September 28.

Praying for peace: US and Taliban officials preparing for a peace talk.

For now, however, US President Donald Trump’s efforts to wriggle out of the Afghanistan imbroglio, which he would like to showcase as a major achievement to gain another term next year, may have run aground with his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly declining to sign a deal involving the Taliban terror group which was closely aligned with al Qaeda.

After several rounds of talks with the Taliban, America was almost ready to finalize the deal with the Taliban which, Washington believed, would wind down the USA’s 18-year war in Afghanistan. At the very outset, many had suspected efficacy of the proposed deal with a dreaded and mercurial terror outfit which America wanted to flush out in the first place. Now, Pompeo may have figured out how risky the pact could be, according to media reports.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy, had designed the “in-principle agreement” after nine rounds of talks with Taliban representatives in Qatar. It was billed as the first tentative steps toward peace since U.S. and allied forces deployed to Afghanistan after the attacks on 9/11. The Trump camp believed that, post the deal, the US could begin a withdrawal of one-third of the total American troops (nearly 5,400 soldiers) from five Afghan bases within 135 days. This return of American soldiers would have boosted Trump’s chance for a second term.

According to TIME magazine, the proposed deal does not guarantee the continued presence of U.S. counterterrorism forces to battle al Qaeda, the survival of the pro-U.S. government in Kabul, or even an end to the fighting in Afghanistan.

Interestingly, none of the stakeholders in the talks or the so-called “deal” were either sure of what they were going to achieve nor did they trust each other. “It is all based on hope. There is no trust. There is no history of trust. There is no evidence of honesty and sincerity from the Taliban,” an official said, adding that intercepted communications “show that they think they have fooled the U.S. while the U.S. believes that should the Taliban cheat, they will pay a hefty price.”

Clearly, few would risk signing such a suspected deal anywhere in the world, particularly with the allies of al Qaeda which showered death and destruction in America in 2001. That was, apparently, why Pompeo also declined to put his name on the deal.

The Taliban had asked for Pompeo to sign the deal with the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”, the official name of the government founded by the Taliban in Afghanistan in 1996, and not the present US-supported government of the “Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.”  Had he signed the deal, it would have amounted to de facto recognition of the dictatorial Taliban as a legitimate political entity, by a democratic America.

The deal would have potentially set the stage for the withdrawal of most American forces by the end of November 2020, provided the Taliban started negotiations with the U.S.-backed Afghan government, reduced violence near areas U.S. forces control and keep foreign militants out of the areas they control.

U.S. officials experienced in Afghan matters were worried that once a withdrawal commenced, it would be irreversible and rollback the gains made in the de-Talibanizing drive of Afghanistan.

This risk came to the fore on Monday, when  the Taliban carried out a deadly car bomb explosion in Kabul, while Khalilzad was busy in an interview with an Afghan  news outlet.

In fact, the Taliban’s patience seemed to be paying off. They not only outmanoevered but also wore down the impatient Americans busy for results against investments. “All you have to do to defeat the Americans is refuse to surrender, and ultimately, they will give up.”

Experts say the Taliban’s goals for Afghanistan have not changed. “It seeks to eject the U.S., reestablish its Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and impose its Islamic government, TIME reported.

The Afghans think that Trump could actually outsource the conflict to Afghanistan’s enemy, Pakistan—in which case Islamabad would have to focus more on Kabul than Kashmir!


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