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article imageOp-Ed: After rejecting peace agreement Trump vows to hit Taliban harder

By Ken Hanly     Sep 12, 2019 in Politics
In a speech at the Pentagon on the anniversary of 9/11 US President Donald Trump focused on the Afghan war against the Taliban. He said that the US has hit them harder than they have ever been hit before.
Trump rejects peace deal with the Taliban
Just back on Sept. 9 CNN reported: "President Donald Trump's special envoy for Afghanistan said Monday that the US and the Taliban have reached an agreement "in principle," pending final approval by the President. Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad told Afghanistan's TOLOnews that a draft agreement will see the US pull troops from five bases across Afghanistan within 135 days as long as the Taliban meets conditions set in the agreement." The Taliban's Shura Council was also to approve the draft treaty.
Trump claims that the US has hit the Taliban harder than ever before
The Taliban have been launching a number of attacks as peace talks have been ongoing but up to now they have not prevented the talks from going ahead and making progress. However in a recent Taliban attack one US soldier was killed. A recent MSN article reports the president's remarks : "He said that over "the last four days," US forces have "hit our enemy harder than they have ever been hit before and that will continue." The nature of the offensive was not immediately clear, but Trump said it was ordered after he canceled peace talks with the Taliban over the weekend in retaliation for a bomb attack that killed one US soldier last week.These comments come just days after President Trump disavowed the US-Taliban peace process in Afghanistan and says that instead the US will “use power, the likes of which the United States has never used before.“
Trump is probably exaggerating the extent of recent attacks on the Taliban. There may be some increase in air activity but there are far less troops in Afghanistan than in the past. As a recent article notes: "Around 2,400 US soldiers have died in Afghanistan. Some 14,000 US troops remain in the country, a fraction of the peak of about 100,000 in 2010." Until recently Trump has been promising to bring the remaining US troops home. Trump is consistently inconsistent in his foreign policies. One day he will be dovish and the next soars with the hawks.
Trump's inconsistency
Prior to disavowing the peace talks Trump was considering meeting the Taliban at Camp David last weekend. He received much criticism for this move parodied on the appended video. Trump reverses course and rejects the peace agreement. He then boasts about how he is attacking the Taliban as never before. After 18 years, Trump is turning up the heat or at least the hot air. After this hawkish rhetoric it is now time for the dove to soar as Trump next fires John Bolton the lead hawk in his administration. Don't be surprised if this is followed by more hawkish moves. Indeed, Trump claims that on some issues Bolton was holding him back, that Donald the dove was more hawkish than Bolton: "President Donald Trump on Thursday again claimed former national security adviser John Bolton, well-known for his hawkish impulses and inclination toward military intervention, was “holding me back” on certain matters of foreign policy. “In fact, my views on Venezuela, and especially Cuba, were far stronger than those of John Bolton,” Trump tweeted. “He was holding me back!” "
Taliban response to the rejection of peace agreement
Al Jazeera reports the Taliban response: "It was astonishing for us because we had already concluded the peace agreement with the American negotiating team," Suhail Shaheen, a Taliban spokesman, told Al Jazeera in Qatar's capital Doha. After nine rounds of negotiations in Doha, it seemed that most of the differences between the US and the Taliban had been resolved. The US special representative for Afghan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, also said a peace agreement was finalised in principle."
However, Trump expresses his moral indignation at Taliban tactics. However, the Taliban had been used these tactics consistently during the long peace talk progress but all of a sudden they become a reason to reject talks just as they are finalized: "They are dead. They are dead. As far as I'm concerned, they are dead," Trump told reporters, blaming a Taliban attack last week in which an American soldier was among the 12 people killed."They thought that they had to kill people in order to put themselves in a little better negotiating position ... You can't do that with me, so they [the talks] are dead as far as I'm concerned," Trump said." He does not explain why all of a sudden the tactics don't work after a deal was successfully negotiated while they had been using the same tactics.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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