It’s not a pretty win, but it’s still a win.
President Trump signed a peace deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan, creating a path for U.S. troops to completely leave the country after 18 years of a war without a clear goal. It could take years to draw down all the forces, but at least there’s a framework.
The deal fulfills another one of the President’s campaign promises and was the product of talks that have been on and off for more than a year.
But leaving is not without consequences.
Seth Jones, a former adviser to U.S. special forces in Afghanistan with the Center for Strategic and International Studies thinktank, said:
“A complete withdrawal of U.S. forces raises the possibility that Afghanistan will become another safe haven for terrorist organizations under a Taliban government. The Taliban continue to have a close relationship with al Qaeda.”
Osama bin Laden led al Qaeda, and the Taliban gave him a base of operation and protected him.
The accord signed in Qatar calls for a long-planned initial drawdown to 8,600 U.S. troops from some 13,000. But it ties further decreases to the Taliban doing things they may find difficult, especially cutting decades-old ties with al Qaeda and other militant groups so deep they include inter-marriages.
The deal calls for the Taliban to refrain from terrorist attacks and enter serious negotiations about a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire.
Many things could go wrong, but it’s a start.