US and Taliban sign deal to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan

The United States and Taliban signed an agreement on Saturday that would have American troops begin a withdrawal from Afghanistan, according to President Trump’s Friday statement. “Soon, at my direction, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will witness the signing of an agreement with the representatives of the Taliban, while Secretary of Defense Mark Esper will issue a joint declaration with the government of Afghanistan. If the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan live up to these commitments, we will have a powerful path forward to end the war in Afghanistan and bring our troops home,” Trump said.

Notorious for harboring the al Queda operatives that carried out the September 11th attacks in 2001, the Taliban are now negotiating with the Trump administration to end being a safe haven for known terrorists. However, critics of the deal warn that the Taliban have neither the means nor the actual interest in carrying out these terms. Pompeo stresses the deal is “conditions-based and phase” with commitments from the Taliban to join in the counterterrorism campaign, but those details remain unclear.

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Despite Trump promising the American troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan would start “today” during Friday’s briefing, he stressed that “if bad things happen” the troops would go back “with a force like nobody’s ever seen.” Not everybody is on board with this agreement. Twenty-two Republicans in the House wrote a letter to Trump conveying “serious concerns” and expressing doubt of the Taliban’s sincerity in living up to the agreement. They are requesting that the members of al Qaeda in the region be turned over immediately, and the details of the deal between the militant group and the Trump administration be made public.

If successful, this will mark the beginning of the end for a conflict that has lasted 18 years. But if it fails, which almost all but the Trump administration believes is inevitable, the conflict could escalate with American troops occupying more of the hostile nation.

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