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Trump Complains That Taliban Fight the American Way, Pretends to Tear Up Deal in Righteous Anger

Taliban bad for not granting the US a ceasefire during talks -- something the US never does for its foes

Having to negotiate — in the rare cases that’s even an option — while bodybags, including civilians, keep coming in is a reality for anyone on the receiving end of Empire’s wars

Trump took to Twitter to claim he was canceling peace talks with the Taliban that were supposedly to take at Camp David over an attack in Kabul that killed one American soldier and 11 civilians:

As far as I am concerned any amount of “collateral damage” is a war crime, but I don’t know that Trump who has escalated the air war in Afghanistan so that the UN now says the US and proxies are killing more civilians than the Taliban has any moral high ground to claim or can feint outrage.

Trump’s complaint that the Taliban declined to have a ceasefire during the talks but instead wanted to keep the pressure on is equally charming. Isn’t that just what the US is known for?

The US famously ended its bombing of North Vietnam in late 1968 to start the Paris peace process, but Hanoi could insist on that precondition only because it was strong. It wasn’t granted to Yugoslavia in 1999 which kept being bombed right through the negotiations at Kumanovo, as was North Korea through nearly two years of negotiations from 1951 to 1953.

Obama launched the Afghan surge in 2009 with the explicit goal of forcing the Taliban to the negotiating table from a position of US strength. Trump’s rationale for his own much more haphazard surge which brought in 5,000 additional US troops and escalated the air war was the same.

The only reason the US is even talking to the Taliban and contemplating concessions is that they are strong, stronger in fact than ever. Earlier this year as its control of Afghanistan territory (as opposed to population) approached 50 percent the Pentagon said it would stop tracking (and reporting) the metric.

Also ideally the US wants to stay in Afghanistan but doesn’t want to deal with the Taliban attacks on its and proxy forces. Should the Taliban then really freeze the struggle that is the only leverage they have? Is that something the US would have done in their boots?

And is the US really so trustworthy that it will keep negotiating with the same urgency even if the Taliban stop shooting, and will not seek to take advantage of the ceasefire for tactical gains?

Moreover, the US itself through Pompeo claims a (fanciful) body count of 1,000 Taliban for the past 10 days alone:

So what exactly is Trump’s complaint?

US officials are now saying the real reason talks broke down were “deep disagreements” between the two sides, and Moon of Alabama finds reasons to doubt any talks were being prepared for Camp David at all:

It is doubtful that the meeting was planned at all. The optics of such a meeting, shortly before an 9/11 anniversary, would have been too terrible. On Friday the Afghan President Ghani already said that he would not come to Washington. And would the Taliban leaders really step on a U.S. plane or helicopter to fly to Camp David when the real destination might well be Guantanamo Bay?

There is also this:

I have my own theory. Trump didn’t back out of the deal because the 2,437th US (and the 3,581th foreign) soldier was killed, but because the Taliban are strong and can therefore demand meaningful concessions from the US. Concessions which are not going to be popular with the establishment media or even within his administration.

Just as on Russia, North Korea and Syria Trump has once again backed down on what he actually wants. What a lightweight.

Antiwar.com with a great comment:

[O]ther officials are now trying to rebrand what actually happened to make it less of a hasty decision to abandon months of progress.

They are now arguing that the US and Taliban had “deep disagreements” on several issues, though what few issues they named, like timing of announcing the deal, all seemed  minor, and every major issue had already been resolved.

This raises the possibility that the end of the peace process was a Trump whim, or perhaps more likely that the administration believed some of the terms of the deal would be unpop

The merits of backing out at such a late date are dubious, however. With a virtually finished deal in hand, the US has effectively chosen to recommit to a losing war indefinitely, while knowing that ultimately they’ll have to settle for a deal remarkably similar to what they could have right now.

Of course, the Taliban — albeit with a body count nowhere near that of the Empire, and nowhere the international jihadi tendencies of the Empire-backed rebels and foreign fighters in Syria — are still oppressive Islamists.

Blessing their takeover of at least half of Afghanistan outright as well as perhaps decisive influence in Kabul in a treaty is neither particularly palpable nor necessarily morally upright.

However, keeping the war going to keep a faction sidelined that has probably more popular legitimacy in the country than any other, and certainly more so than foreign occupiers, is worse.

But luckily no deal with the Taliban is required for the US to stop making it worse. All that is required is that the US packs up and leaves as it has in fact already done from wide swathes of Pashtun-inhabited southern Afghanistan it no longer contests but is contended to leave in Taliban hands.