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Demos
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Pompeo, Afghanistan, and the Peace Process
Jul 9th, 2018 at 1:53pm
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Pompeo makes unannounced trip to Kabul, says Trump’s Afghan strategy is ‘working’

KABUL — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, making an unannounced stop in the Afghan capital Monday, said his brief visit showed him that the Trump administration’s strategy of maintaining an active U.S. military role, while setting conditions rather than timelines for success in the war against Taliban insurgents, “is indeed working.”

Pompeo, who spoke at a news conference with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, reiterated that Washington will participate in a peace process initiated by Ghani last month, when he announced a unilateral cease-fire. The truce was observed peacefully by the Taliban for three days, sparking nationwide hopes for progress in settling the 17-year war.

However, Pompeo said that while the United States is “prepared to facilitate” negotiations, they must be led and conducted by Afghans...

The secretary did not repeat his statement during the June cease-fire, when he said the administration would be willing to discuss a variety of insurgent concerns, including the future role of U.S. troops here. A key Taliban demand for holding talks has been the removal of all foreign troops...

But even as Afghanistan’s leading Muslim clerics declared the war to be un-Islamic, the Taliban brusquely ended the truce on June 17, ignoring Ghani’s unconditional offer to continue it with various inducements. Instead, the insurgents swiftly took up arms again, dampening the hopes that had just been generated...

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Interesting to see where this goes from here, particularly if we intend to take a backseat in any negotiations.
  
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Re: Pompeo, Afghanistan, and the Peace Process
Reply #1 - Jul 9th, 2018 at 5:08pm
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Demos wrote on Jul 9th, 2018 at 1:53pm:
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Interesting to see where this goes from here, particularly if we intend to take a backseat in any negotiations.



I imagine the goal is to set the stage to declare victory and leave. Which would be fine by me. At least the GOP won't accuse the Administration of "cut-and-run" or "surrender" like they did Obama. Trump could pull it off and only a handful of hawks would bitch about it...and then the knives would come out.

This is a tough test for him.

In case he's reading LNF...

Dear Mr. President,

You've fulfilled ALL your campaign promises and have indeed made America GREAT again. Your leadership has already won the War on Terror and ended the Korean Conflict. Do you think there are enough troops in South Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan to hold a full Military Parade? The American people would love to have them all march by the White House in full Military Regalia after their long battles (with their hands tied behind their backs!) showing the Respect a Great PRESIDENT deserves!

MAGA! 

  

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Demos
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Re: Pompeo, Afghanistan, and the Peace Process
Reply #2 - Jul 16th, 2018 at 5:14pm
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White House Orders Direct Taliban Talks to Jump-Start Afghan Negotiations

KABUL, Afghanistan — The Trump administration has told its top diplomats to seek direct talks with the Taliban, a significant shift in American policy in Afghanistan, done in the hope of jump-starting negotiations to end the 17-year war.

The Taliban have long said they will first discuss peace only with the Americans, who toppled their regime in Afghanistan in 2001. But the United States has mostly insisted that the Afghan government must take part.

The recent strategy shift, which was confirmed by several senior American and Afghan officials, is intended to bring those two positions closer and lead to broader, formal negotiations to end the long war...

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Pompeo's going to be a busy dude.
  
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Demos
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Re: Pompeo, Afghanistan, and the Peace Process
Reply #3 - Jul 29th, 2018 at 7:15pm
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U.S. Envoy, Taliban Officials Meet to Discuss Afghan Peace Talks

The top U.S. envoy for South Asia met with Taliban officials this week to discuss ways to lay the groundwork for peace talks, in a fresh bid to end the 17-year war in Afghanistan, people familiar with the matter said.

The aim of the discussion was to build on momentum created by a recent three-day cease-fire that offered Afghans a tantalizing taste of peace after decades of war, these people said.

Ambassador Alice Wells, the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary for South and Central Asia, led the U.S. delegation, which met with members of the Taliban’s political commission in Doha, Qatar.

The Taliban’s political office declined to comment. Ms. Wells didn’t respond to an emailed request for comment...

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Jasmine
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Re: Pompeo, Afghanistan, and the Peace Process
Reply #4 - Jul 29th, 2018 at 7:20pm
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Demos wrote on Jul 29th, 2018 at 7:15pm:

Do you view this as good news, Demos?

What kind of concessions do you expect the Taliban to agree to?
  


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Demos
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Re: Pompeo, Afghanistan, and the Peace Process
Reply #5 - Jul 29th, 2018 at 7:28pm
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Jasmine wrote on Jul 29th, 2018 at 7:20pm:
Do you view this as good news, Demos?

There has to be a political resolution to this, because we're not going to make the military and financial commitment necessary to actually make Afghanistan a pro-Western, secular democracy.

So, if we can come to a political solution, even if that involves the Taliban, that at the very least creates a stable state, then that's a good thing.

Low expectation, I know.

Quote:
What kind of concessions do you expect the Taliban to agree to?

The only concession that really matters is that they agree to end the conflict and become part of the Afghan government. If they're not willing to become a part of and engage in the political process, then there's not much chance of this ever being resolved without one side or the other taking complete control of the state.
  
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Re: Pompeo, Afghanistan, and the Peace Process
Reply #6 - Jul 29th, 2018 at 7:33pm
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Demos wrote on Jul 29th, 2018 at 7:28pm:
There has to be a political resolution to this, because we're not going to make the military and financial commitment necessary to actually make Afghanistan a pro-Western, secular democracy.

So, if we can come to a political solution, even if that involves the Taliban, that at the very least creates a stable state, then that's a good thing.

Low expectation, I know.

The only concession that really matters is that they agree to end the conflict and become part of the Afghan government. If they're not willing to become a part of and engage in the political process, then there's not much chance of this ever being resolved without one side or the other taking complete control of the state.

Makes good sense to me. Thanks, Demos. This is a situation worth following. I would like to see our troops come home.
  


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Demos
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Re: Pompeo, Afghanistan, and the Peace Process
Reply #7 - Sep 12th, 2018 at 12:03pm
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Taliban say they’re ready for new round of talks with US

ISLAMABAD — The Taliban are ready for a second round of talks with the U.S., possibly this month, which is likely to focus on prisoner exchanges, confidence building measures, and ways to move from back-door meetings to formal negotiations, said Taliban officials in separate interviews in recent days...

Both the U.S. and Afghan governments have insisted that talks on Afghanistan’s future would be Afghan-led, while direct talks between Washington and the Taliban — which the insurgents have long demanded — are said to be a stepping stone toward Afghan-to-Afghan talks. The Taliban have sought direct talks to settle U.S. concerns about the Taliban’s participation in Afghanistan’s future as well as the presence of NATO and the U.S. forces in the country.

The official, who spoke to The Associated Press from Qatar, where the Taliban maintain a political office, said they are waiting on Washington for a second meeting date...

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Demos
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Re: Pompeo, Afghanistan, and the Peace Process
Reply #8 - Sep 17th, 2018 at 12:31pm
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The Taliban’s Fight for Hearts and Minds

The militants’ new strategy is to out-govern the U.S.-backed administration in Kabul—and it’s working.

...Despite the near doubling of U.S. troop levels and a spike in airstrikes over the past year, the Taliban retain significant influence in vast swaths of rural Afghanistan and are working assiduously to out-govern Ghani’s internationally recognized National Unity Government. The idea that the Taliban are now striving to provide good governance might strain credulity, given the draconian cruelty of their rule from 1996 to 2001. During those years, they banned women from school and work and executed young lovers in sports stadiums. Since the group’s overthrow in 2001, its brutal attacks have killed tens of thousands of Afghans. As recently as 2009, the Taliban were still killing teachers, burning schools, and attacking aid workers.

Today, however, the Taliban are seeking to present themselves as a legitimate political movement able to administer services and govern the country. As U.S. and Afghan forces pull back to protect major cities—as part of Washington’s new strategy—the Taliban are filling the vacuum. They are no longer just a shadowy insurgency; they are a government in waiting...

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Re: Pompeo, Afghanistan, and the Peace Process
Reply #9 - Sep 17th, 2018 at 2:00pm
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The Middle East and Islam poses an interesting problem for the west. Since 700ad the Muslims in general have not been able to get along with others.

Today, in the 23 Arab nations, the leadership are generally religious radicals, and things like female genital mutilation, stoning women etc are accepted practices and almost all education is religious only.

This has not been a problem for the west up until 50 years or so ago. But now the leadership is exporting this around the globe

There are many moderate Muslims. But they are not in power.

With their high birth rates it’s a mathematical certainly they will dominate the population in 100 years.

The west has not choice but to continue to interact and help the moderate Muslims slowly gain control.
  
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