Don’t Trust the Taliban to Keep Its Promises

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.

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.

Featured image: “Troops in Afghanistan” by The U.S. Army is licensed under CC BY 2.0 

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  • GWB says:

    So, what do we get in exchange for pulling out these troops?
    The main thing we get is our boys and girls coming home. The country is NOT our responsibility. And if they act up in a way that threatens our legitimate interests, we return and burn it all down. (Better, btw, to burn down the places supporting the terrorists – like Pakistan, Iran, etc.)

    The “sunk cost” fallacy is deadly to our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines when it involves being in a mire like Afghanistan.

    (The only way we should ever ‘nation build’ is if Congress has approved such a measure, and we commit to occupying the place and actually running it for 100 years. And, we have to insist they adopt Judeo-Christian morality, property rights, rule of law, and personal autonomy before we let them anywhere near the reins of power – especially voting, no matter how purple the dye. [We really should try that with some places in our own country before we try imposing it on others.])

    • GWB says:

      [We really should try that with some places in our own country before we try imposing it on others.]
      Huh, just realized how much that sounds like “go back where you came from, try to fix it, then come back here.” Maybe we should call that the Trump Doctrine, and apply it to our own selves.

  • GWB says:

    Fight them there
    Sorry, but that’s not what we’re doing. We’re simply providing a target for them to attack – and you’re putting our men and women in the bullseye. If we were scouring the countryside and finding all of them and killing them wherever they are found*, then I would agree with that statement. Right now, we’re simply propping up a hollow government in order to claim some baloney moral victory.

    (* One reason we’re not doing that is because we would have to go into Pakistan. And some moron thinks they’re an ally, rather than an enemy that is cooperating because we’re too big a spider to squash, in their eyes.)

    The Taliban and al-Qaeda have done little, if anything, to prove they deserve our trust.
    Heck, they’ve done little to prove they deserve our continued presence. Other than intel, a rapid reaction force, and available airpower, our forces don’t really need to be there to do the job we’re doing.

    “Our troops will remain in Afghanistan at appropriate levels so long as their presence is required to safeguard U.S. interests.”
    And, pray tell, what “U.S. interests” are actually at stake? Not a damned one. The claim of “you broke it, you bought it” is absolute and utter bulls**t. They “broke it”. We’re not obligated to fix anything there. (And we can NOT, anyway, until the day that we actually impose our (former) value system on them. Until then they can never be anything more than a collection of warlords and jag-offs in a pathetic excuse for a country.)

    stop terrorizing the region
    Who cares? It’s not our responsibility. We are NOT the world’s policeman.

    or working to see the complete destruction of our nation
    Yes. Except they have an inadequate base for doing so, in Afghanistan. And, actually, to achieve what they did, they had to send folks to America and secretly train them in western technology. Their little camps in Afghanistan didn’t do much at all, except shelter the ringleaders. Afghanistan is just the crack house in the bad neighborhood where the gang leader and his lieutenants live. And that neighborhood is a loooong way from the US of A.

    simply hope it goes away
    No. It has gone away. We won. We achieved the goal (except for the idiotic one of ‘nation building’).

    go in to “stem” a problem and then leave
    What?!? Where?!? When have we ever left once it was over?
    THAT is the problem. We have NEVER left anywhere we have gone to war. (OK, 75 years later we finally left the Philippines. And Cuba. That’s it.)

    We did it with Vietnam and we’ve done it in the Middle East.
    We left Vietnam?!? We LOST in Vietnam! We didn’t partially win then walk away! We LOST. Not on the battlefield, no, but our political will was never there, and we LOST because of it.
    And how have we left the Middle East? I’d like to see the premises for that conclusion. If you’re talking Iraq and 0bama’s ‘negotiating’, I don’t think it supports your premise. The only reason ISIS was a threat to us was because we had mired ourselves in someone else’s civil war (more 0bama!).

    Our proverbial boot on their throats.
    Yeah. About that. If we did this to our own people, you and I would be decrying it loudly, from the rooftops, talking sedition in order to stop it. Yes, even criminals. It’s not a good look.

    with firepower we aren’t afraid to use
    Yeah, that’s not happening until we shed a small amount of ‘civilization’ that we’ve accreted. Too many people still think cops should shoot the gun out of a perp’s hand, rather than hit him center-of-mass, when he threatens. Until we restore an element of “he needed killin'” back into our national psyche, we’ll never apply the adequate amount of violence to actually solve the problem.
    And, by the “sunk cost” fallacy, we’ll never leave because if we do, chaos and such.

    It views the government as a U. S. “puppet regime“.
    It is.

    going to do anything to secure or stabilize that part of the world
    It’s NOT. OUR. JOBS. And no, positioning our soldiers there isn’t going to “secure” or “stabilize” it, either. It’s a sh*thole, and will always be a sh*thole, no matter who runs it, until the people there adopt, en masse, western values (the ones we used to have). A government in Kabul is not going to achieve that, either. C’mon, you’re a conservalibertarian, you know government is gonna suck at that.

    the war against terrorism
    FIRST, we need to call things by their right names. We cannot ever win the “war against terrorism”. It’s like a “war on guns”. If we can’t identify the enemy – fundamentalist islam and the perpetuation of Arab resentment* – then all the “doing what it takes” won’t ever be enough.
    (* Arab resentment is my phrase for the mentality spread by islam that seems to be a lot of the driving force behind Muhammad (FHE) managing to unite the tribes. It’s part tribalism, part the clan structure [discussed elsewhere], part a feeling of not being as good as all the people you’ve conquered.)

    leaving our allies to fend for themselves
    I think your definition of “ally” might need a re-look. None of the folks at the top in Afghanistan are our allies, except of convenience. They see us as a tool to gain their own ascendancy. (BTW, since you mentioned Vietnam, that was one of the problems there – our leaders couldn’t see that the South Vietnamese politicians and power structures were merely using us to achieve or maintain their own positions of power. They were a Crapistan, just like the one nestled between Iran and Pakistan, just like the one in South America, only interested in milking the people for all they could before the lights went out. And, if we wanted to have otherwise, we were going to have to actually give the people the foundation to throw the grifters out – Western Civilization.)

    We are there. We’ve been there for close to 17 years.
    “Sunk cost” fallacy.

    • Amanda Green says:

      I’m only replying here. You make good points, most of which I agree with. Personally, I don’t think we need to be the world’s police force. I don’t think we need to be trying to shore up governments–unless is helps keep our nation safe.

      My issue comes in that we have troops there. We’ve put them into a combat zone but tied their hands, just as we did in Nam. Yes, we lost Nam. We lost it because Congress didn’t let them fight the war that needed to be fought. We lost because Mom and Pop for the first time got to see the war up close and personal over their dinner tables and they believed everything Dan Rather and others told them. We had no winnable mission because there was no strategy in place to win because we were too worried about impressions.

      I want our military home as much, if not more, than everyone else. But I also don’t want to see the return further undermine our status in the world’s eye. If our enemy doesn’t respect us, or at least respect our military might, we’re fucked, to put it bluntly. Whether I like being there or not, that’s where we are. So we need to do what it takes to finish the mission successfully instead of trying to pull a Chamberlain and treat the negotiations like a business deal. It won’t work when the other side has no intention of living up to the terms of the agreement.

      • GWB says:

        But I also don’t want to see the return further undermine our status in the world’s eye.
        The problem is staying there undermines our status in the world’s eyes, too. We can’t really win in that department. (And the attitude that we should be nicer and friendlier and all that crap, and that will raise our status, is utter hogwash. The only people who will think us better are the ones whose opinions don’t matter.)

        We can only really win by making the hard choice, accepting that “nation building” is a loss, and coming home. THEN we can start changing the attitudes that cripple us when we go to fight. (BTW, we have to change the mentality in our military, too. There’s entirely too much belief in crap like “strategic stop” and other limited warfare malarkey in our war colleges and the officer corps.)

        I concur wholeheartedly on the “Won’t work treating it like a business deal if…” bit. We shouldn’t try to come home on the basis of having succeeded at creating a civilized gov’t or even destroyed the Taliban/AQ/ISIS. We should come home because we’ve destroyed them enough, and we don’t need to waste the time, blood, sweat, tears, or money killing the last 5 rats.

        BTW, I think a better answer for the “war on terror[ists]” would be the letters of marque approach. Put out bounties on known terrorists, and authorize people to recruit, train and equip small units to go after them – including air forces.
        We need to unshackle our country from that bit of international do-gooder f**kery if we want to really stop bad guys. It’s like an international gun-free zone, and we know how well that crap works.

  • Joe R. says:

    Trust that they will NOT comply with any negotiated peace.

    H O W E V E R. . .

    ONCE we negotiate peace with them WE can break it every day, until they beg for death.

    Sic Semper Backwards Planet of the Freekin’ Apes peoples of the earth.

  • polijunkie100 says:

    A point touched on in prior posts but not emphasized enough, IMHO. Fundamentally, we are in a proxy war with the ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence service. They created the Taliban, just like they fund and equip terrorist groups that start with Kashmir, but eventually graduate to terrorize across SouthWest Asia. Without the ability to run back across the border and hide out in Pakistan’s ‘tribal areas’, we would have crushed the Talibs in the first year. Then the State Department could have done their ‘nation building’ in peace until they got tired of it and handed the whole stupid project to the UN.
    A similar dynamic pertains in Africa with Boko Haram. Without external funding and equippage, they are just a bunch of angry jerks (being polite here…) running around the continent being a nuisance.

    • Nicki says:

      Every time we think we have these assholes on the run, they break off and form another group. ISIS-West Africa is Boko Haram, and ISIS core supports its branches and networks with money, fighters, weapons, etc. These guys may be a bunch of angry jerks running around, but they’re not merely a nuisance. They are deadly.

  • Reziac says:

    The Taliban will give you every assurance you want to hear.

    It’s called taqiyya. Look it up.

  • Skyler says:

    Afghanistan. Every country in the world, it seems, has conquered them. And then realized that there is no reason for human beings to live there. Unlike Iraq, there was no reason to make that country better. They deserved to be punished and that’s it.

    The only reason to stay in Afghanistan is to use it as a base to threaten Iran.

  • Pete says:

    On the plains of battle lie the blackened bones of countless millions who, sensing victory, paused to rest, and resting died.

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