Foreign Policy

U.S. Troops Ordered to Withdraw, Taliban Resume Operations

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

The Taliban and the Trump regime recently agreed to a "peace deal" that will see American troops withdraw from Afghanistan if the Taliban cease their attacks on foreign forces, but that does not mean they will stop attacking Afghanistan's legitimate government.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said today that American forces have been given the order to begin withdrawing.

“We are going to show good faith and begin withdrawing our troops,” Esper said.

Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said there is no expectation that violence in Afghanistan will “go to zero” quickly, following the U.S.-Taliban peace agreement announced on Saturday.

Esper said the U.S. expects violence will “taper off,” leading to a start by March 10 of peace negotiations among Afghan groups, including the Taliban.

Speaking of violence, the Taliban told the French press this morning that they will break the partial truce that held in place while peace talks continued and resume their offensive operations against Afghanistan's government.

The declaration comes only a day after President Ashraf Ghani said he would continue the partial truce at least until talks between Afghan officials and the Taliban kick-off, supposedly on March 10.

It ran for one week ahead of the signing of the historic accord in Doha on Saturday, and continued over the weekend.

"The reduction in violence... has ended now and our operations will continue as normal," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP.

It may be technically true that Trump's "peace deal" with the Taliban hasn't been broken less than two days after it was signed since the deal only stipulates that the Taliban do not attack foreign forces, but I would say it's dead in spirit.

I don't think you have to be clairvoyant to see that Afghanistan's government will collapse as soon as we leave and that's why the Taliban agreed to a deal in the first place. They know.

But is it our responsibility to remain there forever? I don't know the answer to that question and I don't believe there are any easy answers in a region that has vexed American foreign policy since before I was even born.

It's wild to think that the children of those first deployed to Afghanistan in 2001 are old enough to be serving in Afghanistan themselves. Kids who weren't even born yet in 2001 have served there. We've spent hundreds of billions of dollars on a failed, multi-generation endeavor.

Completely withdrawing and leaving Afghanistan to their own devices may be the least bad option in a field of other unacceptable options, but the Afghanistan question probably won't end with Trump's latest "deal." The next president will undoubtedly have hard questions to answer regarding American foreign policy toward Afghanistan once the Taliban resume control and there won't be any good or easy answers for them, either.