Zalmay Khalilzad, President Trump's special envoy for peace talks in Afghanistan, announced a preliminary peace deal with the Taliban, theoretically ending the war in Afghanistan and allowing US forces to return home.
Halilzad sings praise for his deal, but his efforts to stifle criticism and stifle disagreement must raise alarms: During much of the talks, he kept the elected government of Afghanistan in the dark. When Afghanistan's national security adviser Habibola Mohib criticized Halilzad's talks, the State Department responded with a campaign at the top to blacklist it, no matter that Mohib is 1
Fearing that former Afghan intelligence chief and Interior Minister Amrula Saleh may question key principles of the agreement, Halilzad and the US Department of State pledged to deny him any visa to the United States without meaning that he remains perhaps the most popular figure in Afghanistan, a candidate for vice-presidential election and unlike Halilzad, has never tried to win from his job in Afghanistan. Khalilzad has for months refused to inform the authorities in India of the details of his plan, even as the White House and the State Department have been pushing for greater Indian commitment to Afghanistan.
More recently, Halilzad has sought to keep US National Security Advisor John Bolton out of the debate. While Washington and media lovers like to indulge in Bolton, given Bolton's dull and persistent reputation, a little more introspection can make journalists make fewer judgments and question whether Bolton's exclusion is intended to prevent broadcasting. the awkward but necessary questions.  Time Kimberly Dozier magazine now broke the story that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to sign the agreement because, according to Dozier's report, "this does not guarantee the continued presence of US counterterrorism forces." in the battle with al-Qaeda, the survival of a pro-US government in Kabul, or even the end of fighting in Afghanistan. ”
This can only be the tip of the iceberg. While Halilzad tells people that the Taliban have promised not to allow al-Qaeda to use Afghan territory as a launching pad for attacks on Americans, those familiar with the deal say the Taliban did not explicitly promise to break ties with Qaeda. This leaves the Taliban with a room to shake and allows al-Qaeda to maintain its presence operations and, at best, they simply will not seek credit from inside Afghanistan.
The Halilzad agreement also makes no mention of the Pakistani shrines now used by the Taliban, it delves into a logical flaw, apparently by trusting its Taliban counterparts with Afghan nationalism, while ignoring more than they collectively were, rather than collectively to Afghanistan. Pakistan has also provided safe haven for Osama bin Laden, as the al-Qaeda leader is planning attacks worldwide, seemingly forgotten by both Khalilzad and those willing to follow his agreement quickly.
Furthermore, the agreement does not require unification of the Taliban. There is the Kueta Shura, but also the Peshawar Shura and Miran Shah Shura, not to mention the Northern Shura and the Haqqani network. Halilzad reinforces an agreement with one in agreement with all. This is just stupid.
To make matters worse, the United States now seems to be blessing the postponement, if not canceling, of the upcoming Afghanistan elections. But if the peace deal is to open the door to genuine reconciliation between the Taliban and the Afghan government, then the Afghan government must be legitimate and prove nothing as legitimate as a democratic victory. Again, the motivation here seems to be the desire to avoid Amrul Saleh from power, as his ticket with Ashraf Ghani seems to be heading for victory and to avoid acknowledging that the Taliban are afraid of succumbing to any popular vote for fear of the outcome.
Pompeo is right to worry about the future of any residual counterterrorism force, but the problem is actually bigger: if the deal requires integration of the Taliban into the security forces, then the Afghan national security forces are likely to disintegrated, leaving a vacuum for security across the country.
Trump can believe that it is worthy of praise for ending the 18-year war in which the United States now invests $ 30 billion annually. But he was making a false choice: instead of simply surrendering, he had many opportunities to bring the Taliban (and their Pakistani controllers) to the heels, but did not implement them.
Trump is embracing superlatives, and now, with the worst possible deal, he has made it.
Michael Rubin ( @ Mrubin1971 ) is a contributor to the Beltway Confidential Blog for the Washington Examiner. He is a local scientist at the American Enterprise Institute and a former Pentagon employee.