Don’t Trust the Taliban to Keep Its Promises
Don’t Trust the Taliban to Keep Its Promises
For the last 40 years, the Middle East has been a huge thorn in the side of America’s security and diplomacy. The slippery slope began in 1979 with the seizure of the American embassy in Tehran. For the last 18-plus years, that thorn has been Afghanistan, specifically the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Now comes word the Trump Administration has tentative plans to withdraw “thousands of troops” as “part of an initial deal to end the war.” Instead of celebrating, one has to wonder how long it will be before this decision blows up, hopefully not literally, in our faces.
So, what do we get in exchange for pulling out these troops?
The Taliban must “broker a peace deal” with the Afghan government. The Taliban must also “give assurances the country won’t be used as a launch-pad for international terror attacks” and it must renounce al-Qaeda. In return, the U. S. will lower its troop presence from 14,000 to somewhere between 8,000 to 9,000 troops.
Pardon me if I won’t hold my breath on the Taliban following through.
In fact, Senator Linsdsey Graham perfectly expresses how so many Americans feel about the Taliban and its relationship with al-Qaeda.
Mr. President, keep your foot on their throat!
A meaningful counter-terrorism force is an insurance policy against another 9/11.
Fight them there so they don’t ever come here again!
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) August 2, 2019
The Taliban and al-Qaeda have done little, if anything, to prove they deserve our trust. As our own Marta Hernandez so eloquently put it a few days ago
It is true that ISIS lost the vast majority of its territory in Iraq and Syria, but those who think the terrorist group has somehow vanished, need to step back and look closer.
Terrorism is far from dead.”
At least the deal isn’t done yet. Commander Rebecca Rebarich, Defense Department spokesperson, confirmed they have not yet been ordered to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. That keeps the boot at the throat of al-Qaeda but for how long?
Our strategy in Afghanistan is conditions-based,” Rebarich said. “Our troops will remain in Afghanistan at appropriate levels so long as their presence is required to safeguard U.S. interests.”
Trust me, without that boot on the throat or gun to the head, al-Qaeda isn’t going to stop terrorizing the region or working to see the complete destruction of our nation.
Sen. Graham had the right of it when he said, “any agreement will be a good deal for America that protects our homeland, our allies, and our interests. It is one thing to end the war with honor and security. It is another to simply hope it goes away.” His comments point out the problem we’ve had for the last 50+years when it comes to military actions. We have never gone in with the clear plan of winning the war. Instead, we go in to “stem” a problem and then leave, hoping the conflict goes away. We did that with Korea. We did it with Vietnam and we’ve done it in the Middle East.
War isn’t clean and pretty. It never has been and never will be. In this case, we have an enemy that wants to see our way of life destroyed and its followers are willing to do almost anything to see that happen. Relying on them to keep their promises without something to give them a reason to do so is shear folly.
That reason for them to keep their word and forge a peace? Our proverbial boot on their throats. But they have to believe we will follow through with the threat to not only return with increased numbers but with firepower we aren’t afraid to use. That is something they haven’t believed about previous administrations. Will they believe Trump won’t hesitate to give the military the go-ahead to take the fight to them? Only time will tell.
But is that a risk we should take?
At least there are members of our government who understand the potential for the Taliban not living up to their promises. The fact the Taliban has refused to even meet with Afghan government until an agreement with the U. S. regarding troop withdrawal is in place suggests an ulterior motive on their part. With our troop presence lowered, it would be easier for al-Qaeda or ISIS to operate in that region.
It is important to remember the Taliban doesn’t look at the Kabul government as legitimate. It views the government as a U. S. “puppet regime“. There are daily attacks on security forces, especially Afghan forces. Now it looks like we are going to further reduce our numbers there without pounding al-Qaeda or ISIS into the sand, something we should have done long ago.
Tell me how withdrawing based on a promise that the Taliban will be good is going to do anything to secure or stabilize that part of the world.
Sen. Graham is right. We need to keep the boot on the throat of the Taliban and others in the Middle East. That means we need to give our military leaders the authority to do what it takes to win the war against terrorism instead of simply trying to maintain the status quo. If we aren’t going to do so, we need to withdraw our troops and admit we are leaving our allies to fend for themselves because we don’t have the balls to finish the job. Whether we should have ever gone to Afghanistan is beside the point. We are there. We’ve been there for close to 17 years. We need to finish the job and do it in such a way al-Qaeda and ISIS will no longer be a threat to the region and to our nation.
President Trump has said we could win the war in Afghanistan in as little as a week.
While I agree we should do what we can to avoid mass casualties, when you have an enemy that uses innocents as shields, you have to decide if you will make the hard calls or not. It would appear Trump doesn’t want to and that does nothing to present a strong front to the enemy.
Remember what Marta wrote:
Well, guess what, boys and girls! Al-Qa’ida is alive and well and plotting against the United States. . . Terrorism is far from gone, and the next DNI needs to understand the threat and objectively work to neutralize it.”
Or, as Sen. Graham said,
A meaningful counter-terrorism force is an insurance policy against another 9/11. Fight them there so they don’t ever come here again!”
Let’s get this job done without leaving our country and its interests open to another 9/11.