President Donald Trump has demonstrated yet again his art of negotiation as the United States, Taliban, and Afghan government execute a joint declaration to solidify a reduction of violence agreement with the Taliban.
Following a successful seven day violence-free test period, the U.S. has made a decisive move towards a negotiated peace plan in Afghanistan.
This is not only a good step towards ending America’s longest war but for the Taliban and Afghan government to work towards peace and stability within Afghanistan, too.
It also represents a triumph of the American blood and treasure spent in Afghanistan – the Taliban agreed to the same key demand that they were offered shortly after 9-11, 19 years ago: to prevent their country from being used as a base for terrorists to launch attacks against the United States or its allies.
Having spent a year in Afghanistan in various combat detachments, this agreement is a welcome development for our warfighters, door-kickers and trigger-pullers.
This joint declaration demonstrates the U.S. continued support for peace and notes that the Taliban will end their relationship with international terrorists and ensure Afghan soil cannot be used to threaten the U.S. or our allies again.
The trial one-week reduction of violence was not a ceasefire but a step forward as the U.S. worked towards a plan for a longer reduction in violence.
The U.S.’s judgment of Taliban compliance with commitments will determine the pace of our condition-based withdrawal. Should we see an increase in violence against the Afghan government or U.S. troops then this will obviously slow the delay.
We have seen the president walk away from deals where the other party changes the terms at the last minute or does not comply with the agreement.
U.S. and Taliban negotiators, along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed the historic agreement Saturday in Qatar. This signifies that both the U.S. and Taliban have expressed a willingness and interest for peace in Afghanistan
If successful, the settlements in Afghanistan will be more stable, restoration of all services including cell phones will be included and that will ensure communication channels with the Taliban.
Additionally, the Taliban has also committed to entering an intra-Afghan negotiation with the Afghan government, other political leaders, and civil society groups that include women.
This joint declaration demonstrates a strong partnership with Afghanistan and could not have been achieved without President Trump and his administration.
Even the Afghan government describes the U.S.-Taliban agreement as a historic step towards ending the war and establishing national teams to participate in intra-Afghan talks.
Many Democrats will undoubtedly take the opportunity to attack the president, but they know that even former President Obama did not (and could not) pull this off or achieve such as monumental deal.
This agreement will also see a troop reduction to around 8,600 troops by the 2020 elections in November, which also fulfills the president’s campaign promises to end America’s longest wars and return troops home safely.
Make no mistake however, this is not optics, it’s historic!
A political settlement is the most feasible way to establish peace after 19 years of fighting and thousands of lives lost in Afghanistan. The U.S. will still support fighting against terror groups such as Haqqani and ISIS in the country if needed but that should be dealt with primarily by the Afghan National Army.
This historic deal that President Trump has achieved with his top cabinet members, Special Envoy Amb. Khalilzad and Doha’s ability to open communication channels is a historic success that will keep America safe and reduces our Afghan burden.
This is unprecedented development because never before has the U.S. signed a peace agreement with the Taliban.
Our U.S. diplomatic engagement with the Taliban comes after more than a year of continual negotiation and efforts. The president has also received support from our NATO allies, the European Union, Russia, China and partners in the region.
Having worked in Afghanistan to support diplomatic missions across the country, I fully understand the historic significance of this agreement.
After 19 years, the Taliban have agreed to the same thing that the U.S. asked them for at the beginning of this conflict, which was to prevent any terrorist organization to use Taliban territory to attack the United States or our allies.