Mastodon

Why is the United States negotiating with the Taliban?

The ninth round of talks between US & the Taliban began afternoon hours today in Doha. The US team was led by Zalmay Khalilzad and the negotiation team of the Taliban by Sher Muhammad Abbas Stanekzai. Scott Miller who currently serves as the commander of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission and United States Forces in Afghanistan was also present in the negotiations.

This round of talks comes just 24 hours after two U.S. service members were killed in combat in Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday. Later, a U.S. official said the two service members died in combat from small-arms fire without providing further information.

Today after the beginning of the talks, a journalist who follows the Taliban reported that a convoy of CIA trained militias came under attack in Mandozi district of Khost province resulting in two armored vehicles being destroyed and 14 militiamen killed. Reports suggest it was the revenge of recent operations by the same militias which resulted in civilian deaths.

So why exactly are we negotiating with a terrorist organization?  More than 2,400 U.S. military personnel have died in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001 to topple the Taliban, whose government had harbored Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The U.S. formally ended its Afghan combat mission in 2014 but still provides extensive air and other support to local forces battling both the Taliban and an affiliate of the Islamic State group.

Like the Vietnam war, the Afghan war should have never been fought, will never be won, and should be ended as soon as possible. The US war in Afghanistan cannot be won. The Kabul-based government’s gross domestic product can’t even support its own military budget, leaving it endlessly reliant on aid from Washington and its allies. Its security forces have been taking what, last December, the American general about to become the head of US Central Command termed “unsustainable” casualties.  Around 45,000 battle deaths since 2014. Those security forces simply can’t recruit enough new members to replace such massive losses. Honestly, Afghanistan’s best bet would be to allow the US to setup “safe zones” and monitor the situation off Afghani soil.