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Will the Taliban Hold Up Their End of the Deal?

Here is the wrong question: Will the Taliban Hold Up Their End of the Deal?

The four-part agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban committed the U.S. to withdrawing most of its soldiers from Afghanistan, which it is doing. In exchange, the Taliban provided assurances that Afghanistan would no longer be used as a base from which to wage attacks against the U.S. and its allies. It also agreed to engage with the Afghan government.  

But the promises made by the Taliban to meet those goals were vague and very difficult to verify. 

Based on publicly available information, I find the Taliban has met only two of the seven conditions stipulated in its peace accord with the U.S.: releasing 1,000 Afghan prisoners and entering talks with the Afghan government.

Does It Matter?

Of course the Taliban will not honor the deal.

So what?

They will not honor it if we stay another 20 years and waste another $10 trillion in the process.

Right Questions

  1. Why are we still there?
  2. Why were we there in the first place?
  3. What did we accomplish?

The answer to #3 is nothing and if we stay another 20 years the answer will still be nothing. 

Peace With Honor

In 1968, Nixon made this campaign pledge: "I pledge to you that we shall have an honorable end to the war in Vietnam."

The US bickered over details with North Vietnam until January 23, 1973. US troops finally pulled out on March 29, 1973.

North Vietnam overran Saigon on April 30, 1975. 

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Paris Peace Accords

Please consider provisions of the Paris Peace Accords ending the Vietnam War.

Here are the two pertinent ones.

  • A cease-fire in place in South Vietnam followed by precise delineations of communist and government zones of control.
  • The establishment of a “National Council of National Reconciliation and Concord” composed of a communist, government, and neutralist side to implement democratic liberties and organize free elections in South Vietnam.

Debate over the Shape of the Table

The peace talks were delayed for months over the shape of the table.

  • One of the largest hurdles to effective negotiation was the fact that North Vietnam and the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF, or Viet Cong) in the South, refused to recognize the government of South Vietnam; with equal persistence, the government in Saigon refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the NLF. 
  • A similar debate concerned the shape of the table to be used at the conference. The North favored a circular table, in which all parties, including NLF representatives, would appear to be "equal"' in importance. The South Vietnamese argued that only a rectangular table was acceptable, for only a rectangle could show two distinct sides to the conflict. Eventually a compromise was reached, in which representatives of the northern and southern governments would sit at a circular table, with members representing all other parties sitting at individual square tables around them.

Declare Victory and Get Out

Please consider “Declare Victory and Get Out”?

In 1966, in the middle of the Vietnam War, the late Senator George Aiken of Vermont famously recommended that the United States simply "declare victory and get out." With the benefit of hindsight, that seems like pretty good advice. Today, it is more or less what the Obama administration is trying to do in Afghanistan.

That article was written in 2012. We are still in Afghanistan pretending there is some mission of honor to accomplish and the Taliban will honor the deal.

Just Leave

No, the Taliban will not honor the deal. 

I don't really give a damn because we have no business there in the first place just as we had no business in Vietnam and numerous other places.