WASHINGTON, Aug 31 (Reuters / EP) –
While US negotiating teams work to reach an agreement with the Taliban to withdraw part of US troops from Afghanistan, suspicions are rising among some senior Trump Administration officials who believe this agreement will reduce the ability of the United States to thwart possible attacks
Thus, his concerns clash with the intention of the President of the United States, Donald Trump, to secure an agreement whereby the level of troops in Afghanistan would be reduced to about 8,600, ending the longest war in the United States, which It allows to claim a victory in foreign policy while campaigning for reelection in 2020.
Previously, the US president said on Fox News Radio that US troops would initially be reduced to 8,600 and then “make a decision from there as to what happens.”
The US special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, an American diplomat born in Afghanistan, has led nine rounds of talks with Taliban leaders to end a conflict unleashed after the attacks of September 11, 2001.
In exchange for the withdrawal from the United States, the Taliban would renounce ties to al Qaeda and ensure that Afghanistan was not used to conspire operations against the United States or its allies. They would also initiate talks on a political agreement with the Afghan government, opposition parties and civil society.
Given this situation, the US negotiating teams have indicated that the withdrawal from the United States would be “based on conditions” and that it would stop if the Taliban reneged on the agreement. However, some senior US officials do not trust the Taliban and its operations arm, the Haqqqani network, to break their relationship with al Qaeda, nor do they believe they can prevent their ally from planning attacks.
“Unfortunately, we cannot simply wish for these wars to disappear,” said Republican Rep. Michael Waltz, a former 'green berets' officer who commanded the US special forces in Afghanistan. “They will follow us home,” he said.
For its part, a spokesman for the State Department has assured that the United States does not trust the Taliban. “We know very well the history of the Taliban, including the Haqqani network, and its complicated history with Al Qaeda, which is exactly the reason why any agreement, if one is reached, will be strictly monitored and verified,” he said. asserted “The agreement we are working on is not based on trust,” he added.
Among the factors that disturb US congressmen is the secret with which the details of the negotiations have been maintained and the uncertainty about whether Trump has read the proposed agreement.
Critics of the Afghanistan talks include Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, several sources have reported to the Reuters news agency. Initially, Bolton was not invited to a meeting on August 16 at which Trump was informed about the Khalilzad negotiations.
The Pentagon warned in a report published in June that even if an agreement is reached, Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Taliban “would remain a substantial threat.” “Many people are very nervous about this,” a Pentagon spokesman admitted.
Regarding the verification of compliance with the agreement, he considers that it is the responsibility of the CIA and Trump. However, the CIA relies primarily on US troops for their protection and, as their numbers decrease, US intelligence agencies would have to consolidate on fewer bases, which would limit their ability to track threats and force them to depend on each time. More of the replacement militias. “That is risky and challenging, but not impossible,” warned a former senior intelligence officer.
Currently, the United States has about 14,000 military personnel in Afghanistan, of which some 5,000 expressly engage in counter-terrorism operations. Trump has explained that his plan is to reduce the quota to 8,600 troops: “Then, we will make a decision about what happens.”