The End of Negotiations:
Why the Afghan War Cannot be Won
On Tuesday, September 20, the chairman of the Afghan High Peace Council, Burhanuddin Rabbani was scheduled to meet with two commanders of the Taliban at his home in Kabul. Rabbani was president of Afghanistan from 1992-1996. The Taliban representatives told Rabbani’s household staff that they had a special message for the former president. As one of the Taliban commanders was about to embrace the Chairman of the Peace Council, he detonated a bomb concealed in his turban. The BBC and NPR have both written detailed articles on the assassination.
It is now irrefutably clear that the Taliban will not negotiate an end to the war. Thus my previous hope for a negotiated end to the violence in Afghanistan has proven impossible. There will be no negotiated settlement between the Taliban and the Afghan government.
Nor can there be a military victory in Afghanistan. Kabul never gained full control of eastern Afghanistan, whose porous border with Pakistan has been the command center of the Taliban militants. Even areas that NATO forces have secured, like northern Afghanistan, are becoming increasingly violent and unstable as we attempt to transfer them to the Afghan government.
This month alone the Taliban have been able to launch an attack against the US Embassy as well as assassinate Peace Council Chairman Rabbani. Both of these attacks took place in Kabul, the center of the US and Afghan security mission.
The US is also publicly stating what has always been one of the biggest obstacles to victory in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s support of the Taliban.
Leave no doubt about it, the Taliban are murderous terrorists who treat women like animals and enforce a medieval and sadistic “justice” by cutting off limbs and other body parts. They are not fit to run a village, let alone a country. But we cannot continue to send our young men and women to fight a war that cannot be won.
Between July 1 and September 25, 132 US soldiers have died in Afghanistan. Many more continue to be wounded, both physically and psychologically, in America’s longest war.
The time has come for an immediate withdrawal of US troops. We vanquished Al Qaeda from Afghanistan long ago, and the Taliban cannot be destroyed militarily and will not leave the battlefield through a negotiated settlement.
We cannot sacrifice any more of our young men and women to a war that cannot be won.
P.S. There is some good news. The American hikers that were imprisoned in Iran for over two years were freed this week. Also, Saudi Arabia is giving women the right to vote.
Originally Posted September 25, 2011