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Hastily Leaving Afghanistan Won't Encourage Taliban to Make Concessions

The fact that the US is leaving Afghanistan as quickly as possible is unlikely to encourage the Taliban to make any concessions. We’re losing influence there because others have realized they can just wait us out. The AP reports:

The secretive leader of the Afghan Taliban pledged on Monday that his followers will keep fighting if the government in Kabul signs a crucial security deal with the United States.

Mullah Mohammad Omar also called on his fighters to intensify their insurgent campaign against Afghan and NATO forces, and urged all Afghans to boycott next year’s elections, including the vote to elect a successor to President Hamid Karzai….

Violence across Afghanistan has spiked as insurgents try to retake territory ahead of the full NATO pullout at the end of 2014.

This was a serious flaw in the White House surge strategy from the beginning.

Fortunately, the Taliban doesn’t speak for all of Afghanistan, and Mullah Omar doesn’t speak for the whole Taliban. And there are still lots of countries in the region that don’t want Afghanistan to fall under Taliban rule again: Iran, Russia, China, and India all think this would be a terrible outcome. We shouldn’t assume that Mullah Omar is going to get everything he wants.

Nevertheless, it’s clear that the Taliban is far from defeated. Afghanistan is neither stable nor wholly under the control of the Karzai government. The future of the country, as ever, is unclear.

It would be interesting to hear what President Obama believes the US has gained in Afghanistan to offset the money and lives lost in the surge.

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  • rheddles

    Perhaps Obama and Boehner have the opportunity to learn there is no substitute for victory.

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