Key Points

Trump was right in 2014 when he decried the Obama administration’s decision to exchange the Taliban Five for a traitor. Yet now his administration is negotiating with these very same killers. These talks undermine the legitimacy of the Afghan government—America’s chief ally in the war against the Taliban—and bolster our enemies. Whatever “peace” we eventually declare will be nothing but a Taliban victory.

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If President Trump understands and agrees with this, he will want to ask some hard questions over the weeks ahead. He also might consider requesting new and improved policy options. In Afghanistan and beyond, the United States needs to do better than it’s done over the past 10 years.

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The Austrian woman was given a choice between paying a 480 euro fine and spending 60 days in jail. She was not sentenced to be hanged, as would be the case in Pakistan. I find that less than entirely reassuring.

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All the while, the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is running a shadow government, which is preparing to rule over more ground in the future.

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The United States is no longer trying to defeat the Taliban. Instead, the Trump administration, like the Obama administration before it, wants out. The Taliban knows this and is more than happy to dictate the terms of America’s withdrawal. That’s what is now being negotiated. The jihadists also know that wars end in victory or defeat—and their victory is at hand.

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Events

EVENT: Losing a War in Afghanistan: Countering the Taliban and Understanding U.S. Policies

November 15, 2018 | 12:15

Projects