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Joe Biden has barely been in office a week and he’s already ushering more foreign conflict. It started the day after his inauguration when a convoy of troops and armored vehicles re-entered Syria, presumably to re-setup operations there that Donald Trump had ended. Congress was, of course, not consulted, nor was the move even disclosed by the administration.
Now, we are seeing the ground work laid to re-escalate the war in Afghanistan again.
— Guy Elster (@guyelster) January 28, 2021
The AP has more details on the development.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon on Thursday said the Taliban’s refusal to meet commitments to reduce violence in Afghanistan is raising questions about whether all U.S. troops will be able to leave by May as required under the peace agreement.
Pentagon chief spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. stands by its commitment for a full troop withdrawal, but the agreement also calls for the Taliban to cut ties with al-Qaida and reduce violence. Echoing what senior military and defense leaders have asserted in recent months, Kirby said the Taliban has not yet met the requirements set in the peace agreement.
“Without them meeting their commitments to renounce terrorism and to stop the violent attacks against the Afghan National Security Forces, it’s very hard to see a specific way forward for the negotiated settlement,” Kirby said. “But we’re still committed to that.”
You knew this was coming. The moment Trump leaves, the Pentagon starts rattling that the Taliban are breaking the agreement negotiated under the former president. Of course, the terms here are vague, and purposely so. What exactly does “reduce violence” mean? We are talking about a war-torn country overrun with fundamentalists that has been violent for its entire existence. Was there some expectation that the Taliban would stop all violence and that Afghanistan would become a quiet suburban community over the course of a few months? I’m sure no one truly expected that or thought it was realistic, but that’s the standard that will be used to justify re-engaging in a war that lost its justification long ago.
The initial negotiation was always sketchy. The Pentagon and State Department put completely unrealistic expectations on the process while the media ran with the idea that it was improper to even negotiate with the Taliban. Yet, it’s clear that the old course of the war couldn’t continue. At some point, you have to swallow your pride, call the mission accomplished, and go home. But there’s a lot of money and prestige in war for certain sectors of our government and economy. Whether the Taliban are “terrorists” or not, they are one of the power players there. We can either accept that, as unpleasant as it may be, and stop propagating a war that holds no strategic value anymore, or we can go ahead and make Afghanistan the 51st state.
The Biden administration, for their part, have already said they want to relook at the peace deal. You can bet your bottom dollar they’ll blow it up to just to spite Trump. Whether that’ll lead to a new, larger deployment or just a continuation of the current status quo is an open question. Either way, business as usual is back in Washington, and that goes doubly for foreign policy. There isn’t going to be the scheduled pull-out in May.