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article imageOp-Ed: Reports of US scaling back operations in Afghanistan untrue

By Ken Hanly     Aug 14, 2019 in Politics
There have been hopes for a new peace deal soon in Afghanistan, and also reports that the US military was scaling back further operations including support and advisory missions.
No change in US operations
The US Commander in Afghanistan, General Scott Miller, has claimed that the reports are "inaccurate and speculative". Other officials say there have been no changes of any kind of US operations in Afghanistan.
Recent peace talks fail to reach an agreement
Although both sides were hopeful that a deal could be reached this week, during the eighth round of peace talks between the Taliban and the US in Doha Qatar, the talks ended without an agreement.
As reported by UPI, U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad tweeted Sunday.: "We've concluded this round of talks that started Aug. 3 between the U.S. and the Taliban. Over the last few days, the two sides focused on technical details. They were productive. I am on my way back to D.C. to consult on next steps."
As reported by UPI, Khalilzad also said: "Many scholars believe that the deeper meaning of Eid al-Hadha is to sacrifice one's ego. Leaders on all sides of the war in Afghanistan must take this to heart as we strive for peace... Eid Mubarak. I hope this is the last Eid where Afghanistan is at war. I know Afghans yearn for peace. We stand with them and are working hard toward a lasting and honorable peace agreement and a sovereign Afghanistan which poses no threat to any other country."
A peace agreement between the Taliban and the US must first be worked out before the Taliban will engage in intra-Afghan talks with other Afghans on power sharing. Even then representatives of the Afghan government will take part only in their personal capacity as the present Afghan government is seen as a US puppet by the Taliban and they refuse to negotiate with it.
US involvement is not stopping the Taliban
It is not surprising that the US is not withdrawing more troops, given that the expected peace agreement with the Taliban has not materialized. However, the Taliban have been mounting many attacks and now control a considerable amount of the country and contest much more. The US has now been involved in Afghanistan for 18 years, and the ousted Taliban are not defeated but gaining strength it would seem. There is no sign of any complete US withdrawal, as many including President Trump at times seem to desire. Perhaps there will be a peace agreement eventually that will see the US and its allies withdraw altogether as is demanded by the TaIiban.
US using Afghanistan to test new technology
A recrent AirforceMag article notes:
"Afghanistan will serve as a proving ground for the Pentagon’s future cloud infrastructure known as JEDI, as artificial-intelligence algorithms are introduced into America’s almost 18-year-old war, Defense Department officials suggested in a recent media roundtable."
Pocket sized drones are also being tested out in southern Afghanistan.
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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