Foreign Policy

Trump’s Afghan Peace Deal May Be Dead

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

If Trump's dubious "peace deal" with the Taliban did not collapse after the latter resumed their offensive operations against the legitimate government of Afghanistan, it may collapse now.

Trump's deal stipulated that the Taliban launch no further attacks against foreign forces and they haven't done that, but the U.S. military attacked Taliban forces last night in retaliation for their attacks on Afghan security forces.

A U.S. forces spokesman confirmed the incident in southern Helmand province, hours after President Donald Trump spoke by phone with chief Taliban negotiator Mullah Baradar Akhund on Tuesday, the first known conversation between a U.S. leader and a top Taliban official.

The Taliban fighters “were actively attacking an (Afghan National Security Forces) checkpoint. This was a defensive strike to disrupt the attack,” said Colonel Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for the U.S. Forces in Afghanistan in a tweet. [...]

A Taliban senior commander in Helmand who declined to be named said that a drone had targeted their position.

“As far as I know we didn’t suffer any human losses but we are working on it and sent our team to the area,” he told Reuters, adding that the group’s senior leadership in Afghanistan had called an emergency meeting to discuss what he described as a “major violation” of the agreement.

This may or may not spiral out of control and effectively end Trump's peace deal which is less than a week old, but it seems more likely than not, doesn't it?

I don't know if it would be a fair claim or not, but the Taliban may claim that the United States is responsible for breaching the agreement and I don't think that can necessarily be dismissed out of hand. The details of Trump's "deal" are vague enough to leave wiggle room for such claims and it's not as if Trump is widely seen as a responsible decision maker. Trump's presence automatically lowers the credibility of American forces who are subject to his whims.

So, here's a theory: Trump's advisers sold him on a "peace deal" that they themselves poorly understood; a deal (or at least an explanation of the deal) that did not make it explicitly clear that the Taliban could continue their attacks on Afghan forces. The White House is just now beginning to understand that the deal they signed was poorly written if not poorly conceived in the first place.

If there's anything Trump dislikes more than answering hard questions, it's looking like he got punked. I strongly suspect that's why American forces were ordered to defend Afghan security forces.