AMERICA’S LONGEST WAR IS OVER
IN A HISTORIC Peace treaty the United States army and the Afghan Islamist group the Taliban have signed a peace deal, which would note the end of the War In Afghanistan, the longest conflict in American history, just shy of 20 years.
The deal includes many provisions for both sides. The US will have to immediately starting reducing the amount of soldiers to 8600 over 135 days, all the while having to close five army bases. Meanwhile, the Taliban have to sever ties with Al-Qaeda, another infamous Islamist terrorist cell, and initiate peace talks with their sworn enemy in the Afghan government. If both sides commit to their pledges, US forces shall all be withdrawn by Spring 2021 (sans some US intelligence personnel shall remain to tackle the likes of Al-Qeada and ISIS), ending the war just shy of 20 years since it started.
There are also plans for prisoner exchange in the deal too; before the Afghan talks take place on the 10th March, with 5000 Taliban soldiers being released in exchange of 1000 Afghan government soldiers being released by the insurgency. This also fulfils on of President Trump’s main campaign pledges to end wars like this one.
During the signing of the agreement in Doha, Qatar, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Mike Pompeo and Taliban deputy leader Mullah Baradar took turns to address their audiences, making it the first time a major US government official has met with the Islamist terrorist organisation.
Speaking on the deal, President Trump noted that ‘the people of the United States for having spent so much in terms of blood, in terms of treasure, and treasury’ and that both sides were ‘tired of war’.
He concluded that ‘I really believe the Taliban wants to do something to show we’re not all wasting time… If bad things happen, we’ll go back with a force like no-one’s ever seen’.
The War In Afghanistan began in October 2001 as part of the larger War On Terror, which was a response to the Islamist terror attacks of September 11th 2001, albeit the expression has been used by US government forces since the early 1980s.
This led to the swift downfall of the Taliban government in 2002, of who had governed the country since 1996, and a peacekeeping mission by the United States and its major allies, which has occupied the country ever since. The War On Terror has had its controversial episodes however, most notably the War In Iraq in 2003, due to the shaky (and since disproven) claims of their former dictator Saddam Hussein possessing Weapons Of Mass Destruction.
The deal hasn’t been without its controversies, however. Some quarters of ex-army personnel and think tank heads dismissing it as a ‘Trump re-election stunt’, and that it was ‘This is America in retreat. This is America walking way’. Meanwhile, there are already signs the peace agreed is fragile, as Taliban forces have returned to attacking government forces instead of the US.