Thread: #Afghanistan III
'The object of the game is to occupy every territory on the board and in doing so, eliminate the other players.'
-Risk, the board game.
Writing this third thread in my series has been difficult. The current situation is tense, complex, emotionally charged, and in many ways an utter catastrophe. My goal is to elucidate, to inform, and ultimately to elevate discussions of the situation, but it is impossible to do that without risking offending the reader...
or getting labeled as a Taliban apologist.
So, I want to start off with the disclaimer that I do not believe the Taliban are "good guys", nor are they our allies. I do not believe that the withdraw/evac is going well; I think it is a tragic humanitarian crisis that was very much avoidable. The Americans and Afghans who have aided coalition forces over two decades are facing risks of torture and death.
News of a suicide bombing at one of the four entrances to the Kabul airport has just broke as I am writing this. I expect there will be more violence.
This is war.
I take the research I have done very seriously. I've put a great deal of time and effort into it and will not be offering flippant analyses or speculation.
On February 29, 2020, the U.S. and Taliban signed a deal, "a comprehensive peace agreement", that would bring to a close the War in #Afghanistan.
Here is that agreement:
-Taliban will not allow ISIS, Al Qaeda, or similar terrorist groups to develop within Afghanistan.
-The US will withdraw forces
-Afghan govt will release some 5,000 Taliban prisoners and 1,000 Afghan prisoners will be released.
-A ceasefire will begin between the Afghan Govt Forces and the Taliban
-Intra-Afghan talks will begin.
-The US and Coalition forces will begin to draw down their troops, and leave 5 bases.
-Taliban commits to allow and to assist those seeking refuge in Afghanistan.
-Taliban will not provide passports or visas to individuals hostile to the US.
-Taliban commits to intra-Afghan negotiations to form a new Afghan govt.
-The US will use whatever force necessary to eliminate hostiles in Afghanistan.
There are two additional annexes to this agreement. They are classified. In them, the conditions are set for U.S. withdrawal.
The day after this agreement was signed, Afghan President Ghani objected to it, saying,
"Freeing Taliban prisoners is not [under] the authority of America but the authority of the Afghan government," and "There has been no commitment for the release of 5,000 prisoners."
On March 4th, 2020, the Taliban attacked Afghan forces in the Helmand Province. The US responded with airstrikes against the Taliban.
That same day, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley met with the Senate Armed Services Committee to discuss the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. He informed them that,
"[T]he Taliban have signed up to a whole series of conditions … all the Members of the Congress have all the documents associated with this agreement,". Meaning, they have the classified annexes.
A transcript is here and the relevant section is on pages 66–67: https://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/20-13_03-04-2020.pdf
Six days later, in a complete reversal of previous comments on the matter, President Ghani began releasing Taliban prisoners at a rate of 100 per day, totaling 1,500 released between March 10th and Sept 3rd. And the US began drawing troops down, from ~13,000 to ~8,600.
On September 12, 2020 the Taliban and Afghan officials met in Doha, Qatar and began the first intra-Afghan peace talks.
Fighting between Taliban and Afghan forces never ceased, and airstrikes by the US against the Taliban and terrorist groups such as Islamic State and al Qaeda did not abate either, but the intra-Afghan meetings continued until stalling out on September 30th.
The violence then intensified.
The Intra-Afghan War was on.
They may have been tired of fighting against US and Coalition forces, but they were keen to not just settle scores against the Afghan forces, they planned retake the entire country, district by district, province by province, methodically clearing hostiles and occupying each spot on the board.
Fighting between Taliban and Afghan forces and other groups has occurred almost every single day for a year plus. Attacks on bases, outposts, capturing of equipment, assassinations, etc.
Afghanistan, since October 1st, 2020 or before, has experienced a military campaign by the Taliban to take over the country as US and NATO forces withdraw.
"When some are seen advancing and some retreating, it is a lure."
-Sun Tzu, The Art of War
US forces continued to draw down, and Taliban forces advance. Hundreds of battles and attacks took place, thousands injured or killed on both the Taliban and Afghan sides, and everyone in the region continued to attack groups like IS and AQ.
Back to the Deal.
Remember those 5,000 mention in the Deal? They were released by the Afghans by the end of 2020.
Let's look at again at that Peace Deal and see how many boxes we can check off.
-Taliban will not allow ISIS, Al Qaeda, or similar terrorist groups to develop within Afghanistan. Check.
-The US will withdraw forces. Check.
-Afghan govt will release some 5,000 Taliban prisoners and 1,000 Afghan prisoners will be released. Check.
-A ceasefire will begin between the Afghan Govt Forces and the Taliban. Umm, no. The Afghan Forces were defeated.
-Intra-Afghan talks will begin. Check. They began, and they failed.
-The US and Coalition forces will begin to draw down their troops, and leave 5 bases. Check.
-Taliban commits to allow and to assist those seeking refuge in Afghanistan. Tentative Check.
-Taliban will not provide passports or visas to individuals hostile to the US. Tentative Check.
-Taliban commits to intra-Afghan negotiations to form a new Afghan govt. Check (article just came out today that a new govt will form net month).
-The US will use whatever force necessary to eliminate hostiles in Afghanistan. Check.
After decimating the most radical elements of the Taliban, we struck a deal with them to kill the remaining terrorist for us. They keep their country from becoming an Islamo-Fascist Hell scape and staging area for international terrorism, and we leave the country be.
That's the deal.
It was never tossed out. When the US exits an international agreement, the State Dept issues a press releasing announcing the exit. There is no such press release in regards to the Deal with the Taliban.
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