Donald Trump said US talks with the Taliban are “dead.”
“It’s not possible with me,” said the American president. He added that his country has “nuclear” ways to defeat the Taliban, but they are not used, since this would lead to the deaths of “millions and millions of people.”
In Russia, having experienced from its own experience that Afghanistan is a quagmire where even the most powerful superpower can hopelessly get bogged down, the news about Americans continuing to rake the Afghan rake is of only sluggish interest. In the States themselves, the topic of recent days has not left the front pages of the media – and not without reason: the other day, the triumph of Trump and his administration, which was planned recently, turned into a failure.
On Sunday, at the presidential residence of Camp David, Trump had to undergo secret negotiations, individually, with representatives of the Taliban and the president of official Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, at Trump’s personal initiative. It was supposed to sign a peace agreement between the United States and the Taliban, as a result of which Washington would be able to finally withdraw troops from the country.
However, just a few hours before the event, Trump canceled everything. He cited the terrorist attack that occurred in Kabul on September 5 as the reason. 12 people were killed, including one US soldier – the Taliban claimed responsibility for the explosion.
According to The Washington Post, the true reason for the breakdown of agreements is a contradiction within the Trump administration, and specifically between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a supporter of the agreement, and the “hawk” John Bolton, who categorically opposes any transactions with terrorists. Rather, speaking, since yesterday he was fired by Trump from the post of adviser to the president on national security issues.
Western journalists also recalled that in almost a year of the Taliban negotiations, other Americans died in Afghanistan, but this did not cause the White House to refuse to interact with the radical movement.
At the same time, one cannot but pay tribute to Trump’s political instinct, who did not take a decisive step, which could prove extremely toxic for his career in the light of the rapidly approaching elections. Even in the current situation, he was under fire for the very idea of inviting the Taliban to Camp David. Rep. Liz Cheney, whose father was US Vice President during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, said: “No Taliban member should even go there. Never”. And given the fact that events are unfolding right on the eighteenth anniversary of the terrorist attack, which was the reason for the entry of American troops into Afghanistan, the current owner of the White House at the last moment dodged very serious problems.
True, the solution to the problem of how the States to leave Afghanistan as quickly as possible and with minimal losses is now thrown back an unknown number of points back and again looks extremely foggy.
In fact, the United States fell into exactly the same trap that the USSR fell into three decades ago:
– there is no opportunity to win by military means;
– the status quo is very expensive, pulling large sums of money from the state (about 740 billion dollars since 2001), not to mention other losses, including human losses;
– society is annoyed by the protracted military campaign, and its formal end in 2014 does not comfort anyone.
Although about the latter it makes sense to rather admire the effectiveness of the American system, in which, after almost two decades of inconclusive and costly operations involving the deaths of thousands of U.S. citizens (almost 2.5 thousand are only military personnel, data on PMC employees are unknown), society is just quietly mumbling with discontent.
The option of “cutting the bones”, leaving everything and just leaving, is unacceptable for Washington, because the costs will be much worse than the current situation. And it doesn’t matter that Trump sincerely would like to pull his country out of the adventure in which very different people had driven it a long time ago.
The point is not only that the departure of the Americans will be somewhere and someone will regard it as a defeat. In the end, with the desire and availability of appropriate propaganda resources, any loss can be portrayed as a triumph, and even the States have especially extensive experience in this area.
More important is another: their failure will have too serious consequences in reality to provide them with PR cover.
Virtually no one doubts: if the Americans leave, the fall of the current Afghan authorities will become inevitable, and the Taliban will become the sovereign master of the country.
Here it is impossible not to draw a parallel with similar events of thirty years ago. For the pro-Soviet leadership of Afghanistan, the fateful then was not even the withdrawal of the military contingent of the USSR, but the cessation of all support from Moscow (including the supply of arms and ammunition) in 1992. What turned out to be tragic consequences, including the terrible death of President Najibullah.
The betrayal of the Afghan allies is certainly a shameful page in the history of our state. But this happened at a time when Russia itself was experiencing a national catastrophe, and they completely forgot about great-power ambitions.
This, of course, cannot justify the people who made the appropriate decisions, but it’s humanly understandable: the former superpower has switched to the “not fat, I would live” regime, which is something to demand and expect otherwise.
That is why the States cannot afford to leave Kabul to their own devices: not because there is a certain sense of duty, but because the collapse of the Afghan authorities under the Taliban’s attacks will become too loud and vivid evidence of weakness – both geopolitical and military, and economic – USA.
Well, analogies with the Soviet-Russian experience cannot be avoided either. The collapse of the DRA of Najibullah coincided with the overthrow of Russia to the very bottom of the domestic and foreign policy crisis. It is unlikely that Washington will be pleased with questions from partners and competitors in the world arena, how much this corresponds to the current state of the United States.
Irina Alksnis, RIA