America’s longest war over at last? 2

The war in Afghanistan, launched on October 7, 2001, may be over.

The reason for it was to punish the Islamic terrorist organizations which had plotted and assisted the attack on the US a month earlier on September 11.

AP reports:

The United States signed a peace agreement with Taliban militants on Saturday [today, February 29, 2020] aimed at bringing an end to 18 years of bloodshed in Afghanistan and allowing U.S. troops to return home from America’s longest war.

Under the agreement, the U.S. would draw its forces down to 8,600 from 13,000 in the next 3-4 months, with the remaining U.S. forces withdrawing in 14 months. …

President George W. Bush ordered the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in response to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. …

It only took a few months [for “the coalition” in theory, which is to say the US in practice – ed] to topple the Taliban and send Osama bin Laden and top al-Qaida militants scrambling across the border into Pakistan …

At which point victory was declared and American soldiers were brought home …  Wasn’t it? Weren’t they? No. Why not?

The war dragged on for years as the United States tried to establish a stable, functioning state in one of the least developed countries in the world.

Yes, the US under the leadership of President George W. Bush went on pouring blood and treasure into that benighted country to make it “a stable, functioning state”. And under the followship of Barack Obama (follow he did, not only after Bush as president but by “leading from behind” as he put it) the US military were turned into a charitable organization, forbidden to shoot unless shot at, and compelled to build schools and clinics for the pitiable “undeveloped” Afghans.

So then what happened?

The Taliban regrouped, and currently hold sway over half the country.

The U.S. spent more than $750 billion, and on all sides the war cost tens of thousands of lives lost, permanently scarred and indelibly interrupted. [Wrong choice of word, “indelibly”, AP. “Irredeemably” would be better – ed] …

How has the end been brought about? Has the Taliban been defeated?

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attended the ceremony in Qatar, where the Taliban have a political office, but did not sign the agreement.

It seems the Secretary of State was reluctant to sign the “agreement”. The signature on it, for the United States, does not carry much authority.

Instead, it was signed by U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

Addressing reporters after the signing ceremony, Pompeo said the U.S. is “realistic” about the peace deal it signed, but is “seizing the best opportunity for peace in a generation”.

He said he was still angry about the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and that the U.S. will not ”squander” what its soldiers “have won through blood, sweat and tears”. He said the U.S. will do whatever is necessary for its security if the Taliban do not comply with the agreement.

Pompeo had privately told a conference of U.S. ambassadors at the State Department this week that he was going only because President Donald Trump had insisted on his participation, according to two people present.

The Taliban believe they have won the war. Are they wrong?

Dozens of Taliban members had earlier held a small victory march in Qatar in which they waved the militant group’s white flags, according to a video shared on Taliban websites. “Today is the day of victory, which has come with the help of Allah,” said Abbas Stanikzai, one of the Taliban’s lead negotiators, who joined the march.

Last September, on short notice, [President Trump] called off what was to be a signing ceremony with the Taliban at Camp David after a series of new Taliban attacks. But he has since been supportive of the talks led by his special envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad.

Under the agreement, the Taliban promise …

… the Taliban promise! …

… not to let extremists use the country as a staging ground for attacking the U.S. or its allies. But U.S. officials are loath to trust the Taliban to fulfill their obligations.

At least they are “loath to trust” the savage terrorist organization.

What will they do when the Taliban break their promise?

We expect President Trump to devise the most effective response. He has made it known that he’s reluctant to have the US engage in foreign wars that don’t directly affect US interests.

Perhaps Americans will never again have to fight a “savage war of peace”.  Or at least not in the next four years.