Earlier today we discussed the unraveling situation between the United States and Iran in terms of what plan (if any) Joe Biden has to deal with them. But that’s not the only pot currently set to boil over on the international stove. President Trump has been moving steadily toward a United States exit from the war in Afghanistan for some time now. Most of those hopes hinge upon ongoing peace talks between the “official” US-backed government in Kabul and the Taliban. To say it hasn’t been going well would be a massive understatement. I can’t recall off the top of my head the last time I heard Biden even mention Afghanistan, beyond saying that he favored a “limited” withdrawal of our troops, with a smaller, intelligence gathering force left behind to keep an eye on things.
The next round of talks between the government and the Taliban are slated to begin today, but nobody seems to be holding out much hope. And as for Biden’s small force being left behind, the Taliban is saying that’s a non-starter. (Boston Globe)
Torek Farhadi, a former Afghan government advisor, said the government and the Taliban are “two warring minorities,” with the Afghan people caught in between — “one says they represent the republic, the other says we want to end foreign occupation and corruption. But the war is (only) about power.”
The stop-and-go talks come amid growing doubt over a U.S.-Taliban peace deal brokered by outgoing President Donald Trump. An accelerated withdrawal of U.S. troops ordered by Trump means just 2,500 American soldiers will still be in Afghanistan when President-elect Joe Biden takes office this month.
Biden has advocated keeping a small intelligence-based presence in Afghanistan, but Taliban leaders have flatly rejected any foreign troops. Officials familiar with the U.S.-Taliban peace deal say there is no wiggle room that would allow even a small number of foreign troops to remain.