Does Biden Withdraw the Troops? 

That's the key question as the Taliban Backs Out of Peace Talks.

International efforts to broker a peace settlement in Afghanistan suffered a setback on Monday after the Taliban backed out of participating in a U.S.-backed summit that was slated to start later this week in Turkey, officials said.

Facing a May 1 deadline to withdraw U.S. troops from the country, the Biden administration has spent weeks laying the groundwork for the conference in the hope it would accelerate the slow-moving peace process that began last year. The conference has now been postponed until a later date.

The administration had hoped the Turkey talks would yield a cease-fire agreement and an interim government that included the Taliban, enabling U.S. and NATO allies to withdraw their troops after 20 years. 

In an article posted to its English-language Voice of Jihad website, which often reflects the thinking among the group’s members, the Taliban denounced the U.S. proposal for an interim government and said similar efforts had failed.

“For them, an honorable exit is in the establishment of a joint government comprising of [sic] the Taliban, present quislings and various political parties in Afghanistan,” the article said, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks radical groups online. “Afghans have repeatedly witnessed ridiculous democratic elections in Afghanistan. Would they then trust such a system? To repeat failed experiences is not at all wise.”

Under the terms of the deal that the U.S. and the Taliban signed last year under the Trump administration, the U.S. must withdraw all troops by May 1. In return, the Taliban promised to ensure that terrorist groups never again use Afghanistan as a haven to plot attacks against the U.S. and its allies

What's Next?

Apparently it's the same story as has transpired for 20 years.

Senior US military officials are outlining plans to stay in. That does not mean it's a done deal, but it is the same path that trapped Obama then Trump.

Can't Leave and Can't Stay

The Biden administration has indicated repeatedly that removing coalition troops by the May 1 deadline would be difficult, given continued high levels of violence. During a White House press conference last month, Mr. Biden said he “can’t picture” U.S. troops in Afghanistan next year. But the administration yet to formally say it wouldn’t meet the deadline and leave troops there.

Obviously that's nonsense. In response, I have a simple question.

Why Bother?

Does anyone in their right mind actually believe a Taliban cease-fire or power-sharing arrangement between warring Afghan parties will actually hold?

Vietnam Flashback 

Peace talks in Vietnam started in 1964. There were more peace talks in 1968. There were secret talks in 1969.  And finally there was a deal in 1973. 

The period 1964 to 1972 saw at least five different peace proposals of any significance, along with numerous third-party offers that were either disregarded or rebuffed.  

The significant number of peace proposals and their eventual – and some may say inevitable failure – reveals much about the nature of the Vietnam conflict and its chief combatants. 

One significant problem was that the United States and North Vietnam approached peace talks with different objectives. For the Americans, the peace process was a way of extricating themselves from Vietnam, while avoiding the humiliation of defeat.

The Vietnam War ended on April 30, 1975 when the Viet Cong captured Saigon. 

When the US leaves Afghanistan, ceasefire or not, the same fate awaits Afghanistan. 

Meanwhile Biden appears to be sucked into the same trap as Bush, Obama, Trump, LBJ and Nixon.

Declare the War Won and Leave

On December 19, 2012, Foreign Policy wrote “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

Nine years later, here we are. 

Obama failed to get out of Afghanistan in 8 years, Trump in 4 years and now it's Biden's turn. 

He wants a cease-fire no one will honor anyway.

Mish