US To Make Peace Deal With Taliban As $1-Trillion Afghanistan War Nears 18th Anniversary

Peace talks between the United States and the Taliban are continuing, and Washington has said it hopes to reach a deal by September 1. But even as the Trump Administration is promising to withdraw troops, it raises much bigger questions about why this war has continued for so many years, and if the US can get out of it.
The United States is claiming that it could soon be making a peace deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan—the same group it promised to defeat back in 2001. So how did we get here, and why has US policy changed?

First, let’s take a look at the strength of the Taliban…

It has been nearly 18 years since the US invaded Afghanistan, not only has Taliban not been defeated, but it is now stronger than it has been at any point since 2001. While the group is known for its brutal tactics and extreme religious beliefs, in some cases it is those beliefs that attract new recruits. And for others, they see the revolving door of US soldiers who are stationed in their country for months at a time as the true enemy.

Next, there is the country’s most powerful product…

Among a long list of strict rules, the Taliban also outlawed the production of opium. But since the US invaded, not only has the cultivation of the poppy plants that are used to make opium increased—it has skyrocketed. Afghanistan now produces more than 90 percent of the world’s opium supply, and the current area for opium cultivation in the country is four times larger than it was in 2002—making it around 20 times larger than the land area of Washington D.C.

Then, there are the civilians who have lost their lives in the war…

Civilian casualties have also increased dramatically in the country, and a report from the United Nations found that 2018 saw the largest number of civilian causalities since 2009, with nearly 4,000 civilians killed and nearly 11,000 wounded. The UN also found that while the number of civilians killed by the Taliban has dropped 43 percent this year, the number of civilians killed by the US and its allies has increased 31 percent. As a result, NATO forces have killed more civilians than the Taliban in 2019.

Finally, there is the massive cost of the war…

Then there is the cost of war—a combination of bombing campaigns, military operations and rebuilding projects are estimated to have costs American taxpayers around $1 trillion dollars. In 2018 alone, the Department of Defense budgeted $45 billion dollars for the War in Afghanistan, which included $13 billion for U.S. forces, $5 billion for Afghan forces, and $780 million for economic aid.

In conclusion…

But after 18 years of war, hundreds of billions of dollars spent, and tens of thousands of civilians killed, the US is now hoping for a peace deal with the same group they refused to negotiate with in the first place—raising the question of whether the longest war in US history will come to an, and if the US will ever be out of Afghanistan.

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Rachel Blevins is a journalist who aspires to break the left/right paradigm in media and politics by pursuing truth and questioning existing narratives.

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