The Trump administration and the Taliban could be close to an agreement that would see U.S. forces leave Afghanistan in return for the insurgents’ written word that they will cut ties with al Qaeda, according to NBC News.
President Donald Trump’s team is working out the terms for withdrawal of U.S. troops after nearly 18 years of military presence in the country, and some officials in the U.S. as well as Afghanistan are concerned that Trump’s approach is naive.
Along with accepting written agreement that the Taliban will no longer deal with al Qaeda, the deal reportedly includes the name of the insurgents’ former hard-line regime, which ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.
If it appears in the final agreement, the phrase “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” would be “greeted as a diplomatic coup by the Taliban,” NBC noted.
The Taliban has considered itself a government in waiting since it was thrown from power in 2001 by a U.S.-led intervention, the news outlet reported, and has “continued to use the Emirate name to reinforce their view that their old regime is the legitimate government of Afghanistan,” as opposed to the one that took over after the 2001 U.S. invasion.
Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States who is now a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute think tank, told NBC that using the old regime name could prove a recruiting tool for the group.
“Allowing the Taliban to refer to themselves as the Islamic Emirate, even in parentheses, allows them to build the narrative that they forced the U.S. to negotiate an exit from Afghanistan just as the mujahideen had forced the Soviets out,” he said.
“If the administration is eager to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, it would have done better to announce a no-deal exit than allowing the Taliban such a huge propaganda victory.”