The deal will tentatively be signed by US and Taliban leaders on February 29, provided the week prior sees a “reduction in violence,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Friday. If the truce lasts, nationwide peace talks would begin within 10 days of the signing - another monumental achievement, since the Taliban has so far refused to talk with the government in Kabul that replaced it when US forces and local allies overthrew the militia group in late 2001. The Taliban would also have to forswear support for terrorist groups in the country, which include the Haqqani Network, Islamic State-Khorasan and, of course, its own terrorist tactics.
However, those talks could yield a new government in Kabul, the Associated Press reported. US troops would begin a phased withdrawal over the course of 18 months. There are roughly 13,000 US troops in Afghanistan, who have been fighting an 18-year-long war that Washington has been forced to admit it no longer knows if it’s winning or not. US Defense Secretary Mark Esper is quoted as saying the deal would only reduce US troop levels to 8,600 - roughly what they were when US President Donald Trump took office in 2017.
University of Illinois Professor of International Law Francis Boyle told Radio Sputnik’s By Any Means Necessary that the precise details haven’t yet been made public, and when they become public he may change his mind, but that “from what’s been leaked in the press, I can’t say I’m overly optimistic.”
“All Trump has done right now is to agree to withdraw to the level of troops that [former US President Barack] Obama had in there. So I can’t say I’m terribly optimistic right now without reading the details … It could be that the American strategy here is to sort of play games with the ousted Taliban government with no real intention of leaving Afghanistan that we illegally invaded in the first place in order to better steal all the oil and gas in Central America.”
“It appears the United States government is still trying to come up with pretext to keep US military forces there under one bogus reason or another. So far, from what I’ve read in the public record, it does not appear we’ve actually agreed to withdraw fully at the end of this process, as happened in the Paris Peace Accord” that ended the US war in Vietnam in 1973. Boyle noted that agreement made clear the US expected the South Vietnamese puppet government to quickly fall to communist forces seeking to reunite the country - which it did, less than two years later.
“I don’t think the United States government is planning to do [to Afghanistan] what it did to Vietnam,” he said.
“It looks like US strategy is trying to lull the Taliban resistance into a situation where the Taliban army and the resistance gradually collapses and we’re still there,” the academic told hosts Sean Blackmon and Jacquie Luqman. Indeed, one of the Trump administration’s primary terms is a weeklong lull in Taliban attacks prior to the signing of the agreement - something that didn’t happen during the last attempt in September 2019.
“As for [Afghan President Ashraf] Ghani, look: it’s well known that Ghani is a CIA asset and a CIA puppet, as [former Afghan President Hamid] Karzai was before him. That whole government is a joke and a fraud; it’s nothing more than a Potemkin Village of a government, pretty much like South Vietnam was. We fully keep Ghani in power, as we did Karzai. They’re nothing more than the mayor of Kabul as far as we are concerned.”
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.