Afghan Peace Talks Stalled

By Lily Waterman and Sam Baghal

President Donald J. Trump recently announced that the peace talks between the US and the Taliban were “dead.” Trump also declared he was working to withdraw the American troops from Afghanistan, which is America’s longest war, which we have been in that country since 2001. 

The war in Afghanistan began over al-Qaeda’s attack on New York City’s World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, otherwise known as 9/11. The Taliban, another radical Islamic group, protected Osama Bin Laden, who lead al-Qaeda’s attack. Since which, the U.S. has tried to prevent the Afghan government from collapse and attacks from the Taliban. 

The removal of over 5,400 American forces may have serious ramifications for Trump’s use of negotiating power in future talks. By withdrawing troops without securing peace, it may be a radical card to play rather than keeping over 14,000 American troops still in Afghanistan. The main problem is with the failure of the talks, it is believed that the Taliban will engage in more attacks around their elections in September. 

Trump himself is revving up his own attacks from his tweet, “over the last four days, we have been hitting our Enemy harder than at any time in the last ten years!”

His ultimate decision to halt the peace conferences corresponded to a recent suicide bombing in which an American soldier and 11 others were killed in the capital of Kabul. Using their violence as a negotiating tactic to gain leverage against the U.S., the Taliban has claimed credit for perpetrating this attack. 

“If they cannot agree to a ceasefire during these very important peace talks, and would even kill 12 innocent people, then they probably don’t have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway,” President Trump added to his series of tweets. 

Wayne Hills junior, Jamie Hamalainen, responded to the recent events with concern for our American soldiers, stating that “the tragedy in Kabul is an indicator that proper precautions should be taken to help keep our troops safe. With the cancellation of the meeting, the Taliban has an obvious strategic alternative to escalate their war efforts and ambush the American presence in Afghanistan. Our main focus right now should be withdrawing the troops stationed there.”

Since one of President Trump’s main promises in his 2016 presidential campaign was removing the American military forces from Afghanistan, this recent spur of the moment decision may have counteracted his initial goals. It would be devastating ironic for the cancellation of these peace talks to escalate the war that he initially sought to diminish.