Afghanistan: Will Biden Cave to the Forever War Party?

February 24, 2021 Topic: Afghanistan Region: Asia Tags: Afghanistan WarTaliban9/11Al QaedaWarJoe Biden

Afghanistan: Will Biden Cave to the Forever War Party?

There is no military solution in Afghanistan, and more years of bloodshed and war serve no one.

This is very interesting. It tells us that the Taliban care about their image and that economic opportunities are a priority for them. They are separately on record saying that they don’t wish to again be international pariahs but understand that their country will need help and commercial relationships with the rest of the world if it is to emerge from its stark poverty. For the United States, this means that we have soft power, and the option of sanctions, to keep a Taliban-included Afghanistan on the right track. We are hardly without our means of pressure or influence; it’s not a matter of war or nothing.

Still, the question remains, can we trust the Taliban to honor their agreements? Can they even deliver on their promises, or do rogue commanders do whatever they want? The detractors insist that a deal with the Taliban negotiators won’t hold. But there’s a metric for this. In the year since they signed the cessation of hostilities agreement with the U.S. military, not one single American soldier has been killed in combat with the Taliban. Our financial costs have declined accordingly, certainly a welcome development in light of our many other national burdens. It’s time for this war to end.

Dr. Cheryl Benard was program director in the RAND National Security Research Division. She is the author of Veiled Courage, Inside the Afghan Women’s Resistance; Afghanistan: State and Society; Democracy and Islam in the Constitution of Afghanistan; and Securing Health, Lessons from Nation-building Missions. Currently, she is the Director of ARCH International, an organization that protects cultural heritage sites in crisis zones.

Image: Reuters.