Endgame in Afghanistan?

News Commentary — Aug 12, 2018

The US  has sent thousands  more troops to Afghanistan.  Click for story

The US recently sent more troops to Afghanistan but they have been unable to stop Taliban advances. Click to enlarge

Although the western media appears focused on other conflicts, Taliban advances are being reported across Afghanistan. From northern Faryab province, where at least 17 afghan soldiers were reported killed in an attack on an Afghan Army base recently to Paktia province, where a relief column on its way to Ghazni came under attack on Sunday. To the southern province of Uruzgan, where the remains of dozens of Afghan Army soldiers were found following a Taliban attack on an army base there last week.
Despite boosting the number of U.S. troops in the country and getting the UK and French to send additional troops, Trunp has failed to stop the Taliban from gaining ground.
The question is whether he will send yet more to troops to stop the Taliban, a move that would only alienate voters who supported Trump because of his campaign promise to limit U.S. military involvement overseas. Or whether he will opt for a face saving negotiated agreement with the Taliban?
We would suggest that this is what has been happening in Qatar recently, where a former U.S. Army colonel and a former senior U.S. diplomat have been holding secret discussions with Taliban representatives.
We realise that this is speculative but the Trump administration is desperate to get out of Afghanistan — without losing face.
Earlier this year the U.S. signalled that it wanted direct talks with the Taliban (here and here) and that seems to have happened.   We would suggest that the U.S. was ready to offer any number of inducements in order for the Taliban to accept its terms;  allowing Washington to withdraw the bulk of its forces from Afghanistan without any mention of words like “defeat” or “retreat”.
Just as it once did in Vietnam.
America is locked in a war it knows it cannot win so now it is looking for a face-saving exit strategy. To this end we suspect that the U.S. is negotiating to keep a small military contingent in Afghanistan under some pretext or other while the Taliban assumes power.
This would enable Washington to claim that it wasn’t strictly speaking “defeated” militarily (although it was, of course, just as in Vietnam). And more importantly, it would allow the U.S. to keep its tabs on Afghanistan’s lucrative drugs trade, which is why it went there in the first place.
In other words the U.S. and its allies have wasted 17-years and literally hundreds of thousands of lives for absolutely nothing, other than to revive Afghanistan’s lucrative drugs trade, which nearly ended under the Taliban.
Essentially the Afghan campaign has been a criminal enterprise that has been sustained by successive governments in the U.S. and the West. What does this colossal waste and its attendant suffering say about our leaders?
Afghanistan has been called the graveyard of empires and so it was for the Soviet Union and Imperial Britain, which began its decline there. Now it could be the same for a U.S. dominated New World Order. Ed.

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