I spoke with RT America about the ongoing talks between the US, Taliban, and the Afghanistan government, a peace process that could bring an end to the Afghanistan War. I’ll expand on some of the points that I briefly mentioned in the segment, being that I only had a few minutes on air.
First, I have to say thank you to Holland Cooke and the RT America producers for setting this up as well as mentioning The Peace Report! Most media outlets just paint me as another veteran while hiding my anti-war and peace work.
Point 1: There is no military solution, only a political solution.
The US government and political/military analysts have known for a long time that there is no military solution to this war. Since there is no military solution, bringing in the Taliban into the decision-making process (government) will bring more stability and security to the country than anything the US government could imagine. After all, the Taliban in Afghanistan are made up of Afghans themselves. They are fighting the invaders and occupiers of their own land. Namely, they were and are fighting people like me who occupied their lands, destroyed their infrastructure, and continue to ignore their voices in any decision-making process. Any US infantryman will tell you that they understand the Taliban are fighting people invading their homes, and the US infantry knows damn well they themselves would be fighting outside forces if US soil were invaded and occupied.
Point 2: Peace process was inspired by the Eid Holiday ceasefire made between the Afghan government and the Taliban, which US Forces honored and supported.
The historic ceasefire between the two groups paved the road for the current secret talks happening now between the US, Taliban, and Afghan government. The ceasefire was put forth by the Taliban and the Afghan government, essentially sending a message to the world that peace was possible in the country. This action alone was a slap in America’s face, proving that military actions are useless in creating a peaceful environment.
The Taliban showed through this ceasefire that they are a united force, not just some sporadic set of factions fighting without direction or cause. If they are united, they can be seen as a dependable group. This proves that if the Taliban leadership commands their fighters, it is then a united group which has direction, structure, and leadership.
After all, what other options are available? The two options are either to keep fighting or allow the Taliban to enter governmental positions. Fighting would mean more instability and insecurity for the nation. Allowing the Taliban to enter government would mean actually stability and security in the country. I choose stability and security.
Point 3: The compromises of each side for ending the war.
These talks will come with compromises from each side.
US side: Stop the fighting, the airstrikes, and give Afghan people freedom to make their own decisions with little to no influence (hopefully). Allow Taliban leadership positions in the country.
Taliban side: Allow some US forces to remain in Afghanistan as long as the US troops can promise no more fighting or aggression. (Of course, I don’t want US troops on any foreign soil but this seems to be the compromise that is bringing the US to the table.)
Afghan government side: Allow Taliban to enter the government and participate in decision-making process.
Point 4: Afghan people are suffering and elections are coming up.
The World Bank recently reported that half of Afghans are in poverty. We know the Afghanistan War is the longest war in US history, marking 17 years now. But the Afghan people have actually been at war for nearly 40 years since the late 1970s. That is two whole generations of knowing and seeing nothing but war.
As elections are coming up, the Afghan people see a chance to change things especially after seeing the ceasefire on Eid holiday. President Ghani has had a horrible reputation in the country, but wants to remain in power. His administration is accused of voter fraud in the 2014 elections, as well as the ongoing corruption, torture, and mistreatment conducted by the Afghan security forces and all intelligence agencies. In addition, the country as a whole is recognized as a “Not Free” country, according to the standards of Freedom House, a US government-funded NGO. Bringing an end to the war and changing the current conditions in Afghanistan would paint President Ghani’s image as more appealing to the people of Afghanistan.
Point 5: Fighting will continue until a deal is reached.
You’ll see news coverage of attacks by the Taliban, such as the recent attack that killed 3 NATO troops from the Czech Republic. What you won’t see is the attacks committed by US forces. In 2018, US Forces in Afghanistan have increased their strikes by 78 percent, according to a recent report by the Air Force Central Command (AFCENT). Even top US General John Nicholson has described this peace process as “talking and fighting”. Remember, the ceasefire is not over and the war is continuing. The fighting will continue until an agreement has been reached, so don’t expect anything different until words are set in stone. The good thing is that President Trump is impatient, which could speed this process along.