Nine rounds of peace talks have lasted for 18 years. Are the Taliban and the United States still close to each other?

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 Nine rounds of peace talks have lasted for 18 years. Are the Taliban and the United States still close to each other?


Only a few days ago, the United States announced a principled agreement with the Taliban to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. However, the plot suddenly turned downward.

Source: US President Trump.

The 18-year-old war in Afghanistan has not ended yet, and it has become the longest war in the United States. With the breakdown of the peace talks, the days of artillery fire in Afghanistan seem to be coming to an end. Why is the war pending for a long time? Is there any room for peace talks to turn around?

One attack killed 12 people

Trump announced on social networking website on July 7 that he had cancelled his secret meeting with the Talibans chief leader, Afghan President Ghani, at Camp David, Maryland, on August 8. He said the Taliban failed to abide by the ceasefire during the negotiations and launched terrorist attacks, killing 12 people, including a U.S. soldier.

DATA FIGURE: On August 17, 2019, a bomb exploded at a wedding banquet venue in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, killing and injuring more than 200 people.

On the 8th, U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo said that as things stand, the Afghan peace talks are dead. The United States will not reduce its military support for Afghan forces until the Taliban can keep their major commitments.

The Taliban responded that Trumps decision to cancel the peace talks in Afghanistan would lead to more harm to the United States than to all people and more lives of the American people. The Afghan presidential palace says peace can only be achieved if the Taliban accept a ceasefire and engage in direct dialogue with the Afghan government.

Hundreds of billions of dollars spent on 18 years of war

Americas mire is costly

In 2001, the United States launched the war in Afghanistan after the September 11 terrorist attacks, overthrowing the Taliban regime that the United States identified as sheltering Al Qaeda.

DATA FIGURE: On July 18, 2019, the police headquarters of Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, was attacked by a car bomb, followed by an exchange of fire, killing and injuring more than 100 people.

Nevertheless, the Taliban have not disappeared since then. After the war, the situation in Afghanistan continued to be turbulent, the government was restricted by many conditions, while other countries had concerns about the long-term presence of troops in Afghanistan. Therefore, although the Taliban have been on the defensive, they have gradually regrouped.

Over the past 18 years, nearly 3,500 NATO coalition soldiers have been killed in the war in Afghanistan, including more than 2,300 American soldiers. The U.S. military expenditure is more than $760 billion, but it is still unable to defeat the Taliban. This unexpected war has become a wound that is hard to heal that consumes American power.

At the same time, the war also brought heavy suffering to the local area. In January 2019, Afghan President Ghani said 45,000 members of the security forces had been killed since 2014. A United Nations report in February 2019 says more than 32,000 civilians died.

14,000 garrisons are hard to stop smoke

Can the United States escape the Vietnam Anti-terrorism cycle?

When he ordered the fight against Afghanistan in 2001, former US President George W. Bush said that the war on terrorism is not what we want to fight on our own initiative, but we will finish it. He also said that the United States is to disrupt Afghanistan as a base for terrorist activities, while attacking the Taliban regimes military forces.

Eighteen years later, however, Afghanistan is still mired in artillery fire. According to the Associated Press, the Taliban are now at their strongest level since the 2001 war in Afghanistan, and they control more than half of Afghanistans territory. Moreover, the Taliban are still launching bomb attacks against government and civilian targets.

Source: Former US Presidents George W. Bush (left) and Barack Obama.

The long-term turmoil has also given other extremist organizations a chance to take advantage of it. With the Islamic State losing ground in Iraq and Syria, the organization is working to make Afghanistan one of its main bases. In recent years, there have been frequent exchanges of fire with Afghan security forces and Taliban forces.

Bush and Obama failed to solve the mess, which fell to Trump in 2017. During his campaign, he argued that the United States should end its overseas war as soon as possible. After taking office, however, he sent more troops to Afghanistan in August 2017. He claims to be reluctant to approve the strategy without following intuition.

At present, there are still 14,000 U.S. troops stationed there. Since 2019, 16 American soldiers have died in Afghanistan. According to the analysis, the Trump administration still has not got rid of the long-standing anti-terrorism habit of the United States, which attaches great importance to military affairs and neglects diplomacy. If this anti-terrorism policy does not change, it will be difficult for the United States to escape from the more anti-Vietnam terrorism circle.

Nine rounds of peace talks once broke down

How far is the road to peace in Afghanistan?

With the Taliban growing in Afghanistan, the United States has to negotiate with it. Beginning at the end of 2018, the United States and Taliban representatives held several rounds of dialogue in Doha, the capital of Qatar.

Source: In October 2018, Afghans voted in the National Assembly elections in Kandahar Province.

Following the end of the ninth round of dialogue, US Special Envoy for Afghanistan, Khalilzad, announced on September 2, 2019 that the United States would withdraw 5,400 troops from five military bases within 135 days, while the Taliban promised not to attack the United States and its allies based on Afghanistan.

The agreement also states that the Afghan parties need to negotiate on their own to end the war that has lasted for more than 18 years. However, the agreement has not yet been formally reached and the negotiations have been called off. It is uncertain whether Trumps statement means that the peace talks between the two sides have been completely suspended. Pompeo said on the 8th that he hoped the negotiations could resume in the future. On September 28, the new Afghan presidential election will be held. Originally, the Afghan government and the Talibans internal dialogue in Afghanistan will probably start after the agreement is reached. However, the Taliban have been passive about this, and even if a peace agreement is reached, it does not mean that peace can be achieved immediately. In 2019, Afghanistan celebrates its 100th anniversary of independence, but the people of the country still bear the heavy burden of years of bloody war and the road to peace is still long. Source: Xu Meng-NN7485, Responsible Editor of CNN

The agreement also states that the Afghan parties need to negotiate on their own to end the war that has lasted for more than 18 years.

However, the agreement has not yet been formally reached and the negotiations have been called off. It is uncertain whether Trumps statement means that the peace talks between the two sides have been completely suspended. Pompeo said on the 8th that he hoped the negotiations could resume in the future.

On September 28, the new Afghan presidential election will be held. Originally, the Afghan government and the Talibans internal dialogue in Afghanistan will probably start after the agreement is reached. However, the Taliban have been passive about this, and even if a peace agreement is reached, it does not mean that peace can be achieved immediately.

In 2019, Afghanistan celebrates its 100th anniversary of independence, but the people of the country still bear the heavy burden of years of bloody war and the road to peace is still long.