Trump Notches Another Victory; Creates Path to Leave Afhganistan

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.

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