A 7 day brokered ‘reduction in violence’ with the Taliban in Afghanistan goes into effect Friday night (Saturday in Afghanistan). Secretary of State Pompeo announced a peace deal that may be signed on February 29 if the reduction in violence is successful…and open a pathway to United States withdrawal. Maybe.
.@SecPompeo announced that the U.S. reached an understanding with the Taliban on a significant, nationwide reduction in violence across Afghanistan that will help to move our #AfghanPeaceProcess forward. This will advance progress toward a political settlement in #Afghanistan. pic.twitter.com/PdsQYdooT1
— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) February 21, 2020
The real question is, will the seven day “reduction in violence” agreement be successful? We are all aware of how treacherous the Taliban have acted in the past. Controlling their factions from acts of violence could pose a serious problem.
The Taliban statement said,
“Both parties will now create a suitable security situation in advance of agreement signing date, extend invitations to senior representatives of numerous countries and organizations to participate in the signing ceremony, make arrangements for the release of prisoners, structure a path for intra-Afghan negotiations with various political parties of the country and finally lay the groundwork for peace across the country with the withdrawal of all foreign forces.” (New York Post)
Here’s one issue, the New York Times published an opinion piece on Thursday by a Taliban leader entitled: “What We, the Taliban, Want.” They published an op-ed by Sirajuddin Haqqani, who happens to be on the FBI’s most wanted list. There is a $5 Million reward for his capture or killing. Yet the Times printed his little “peace deal” letter without blinking an eye.
“Even for a terrorist, Haqqani is particularly bloodthirsty, In December 2008, he was reportedly behind the bombing of an elementary school; multiple children were killed. That same year he plotted an attack on the Serena Hotel in Kabul, then considered a heavily fortified safe zone, which killed six people including one American. Haqqani also tried to assassinate then-president Hamid Karzai, but hey, bygones.
Even the Times’ own senior correspondent in Afghanistan is appalled by the Times’ decision.” Maureen Callahan, NYPost
The piece by Siraj Haqqani in @nytopinion – which's independent of our news operations & judgment – omits the most fundamental fact: that Siraj is no Taliban peace-maker as he paints himself, that he's behind some of most ruthless attacks of this war with many civilian lives lost
— Mujib Mashal (@MujMash) February 20, 2020
Haqqani doubles as leader of the Haqqani network, a vicious branch of militant terrorists in Afghanistan. In his statement he says women have rights under Islam – let’s see…the right to wear burqas and never show their face. The right to be beaten. The right to be stoned to death. The right to not own property but to be property. The right to not obtain an education. The Taliban have an extremely rigid view of Islam.
Talks with the Afghan government are to begin on February 29. Will this pave the way for removal of US troops?
The Trump administration is trying to extricate the US from Afghanistan, which would be a great accomplishment after nearly 19 years of war. Some members of Congress have expressed concern over any large troop withdrawal, but at this time the plan has been to draw troops down to 8,600 from the current level. The Taliban have expressed that they want ALL foreign troops out of the country.
Featured photo: Screenshot of Secretary Pompeo via Fox