Congress has moved to block Trump’s planned troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, ensuring the longest War in US History will continue. Despite peace talks with the Taliban, the Trump Admin has continued to bomb the country, drastically increasing civilian casualties…
We are now learning that Washington’s top military general met with negotiators from the Taliban in the Persian Gulf — in a surprise meeting that is sparking new questions, as the fate of US troops in Afghanistan remains unclear.
The announcement came from the top Military General in the US, himself, following an unannounced visit to Qatar and Afghanistan. He said he met with negotiators from the Taliban for two hours, in an attempt to urge them to pursue a decrease in violence. General Mark Milley told reporters, “The most important part of the discussions that I had with both the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan was the need for an immediate reduction in violence. Everything else hinges on that.”
It does not appear that any major breakthrough was made, but this is the highest ranking military general to ever sit down face to face with the Taliban—and General Milley has actually served three tours in Afghanistan fighting against them.
Speaking of violence, the US has also continued bombing Afghanistan, despite that peace deal, and the Taliban has repeatedly accused the US of violating the agreement. It’s notable, because the deal that was agreed to back in February was meant to lead to a ceasefire in the country, the removal of US troops, and peace between the Taliban and the Afghan Government. But the US has accused the Taliban of excessive acts of violence — and the Taliban has accused the US of carrying out airstrikes in heavy civilian areas that were supposed to be off limits. So, it appears the deal is still intact, as of right now, but it’s not clear how much progress is actually being made.
Moving to end the war was one of Trump’s campaign promises, and even just a few months ago, he promised all US troops would be home from Afghanistan by Christmas. As of right now, the plan is to reduce the number of troops, but Congress included a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act for next year, which would block the funding needed to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500 by next month, until further review from the Defense and State Departments.
Trump has said he plans to veto the $740 Billion bill—even though it was passed by a veto-proof majority in the Senate. Now since the US invaded Afghanistan 19 years ago—the federal government has spent more than $2 trillion dollars fighting this ongoing war – and in addition more than 2,400 US soldiers have died – and more than 38,000 Afghan civilians have been killed. It’ll be interesting what more comes out of today’s meeting with the Taliban – and how the new Biden administration plans to handle the United States longest war.