'The US and the Taliban, we are led to believe, are close to agreeing a deal that would see the withdrawal of all US and NATO forces from Afghanistan. The question is though, will it?
First some context, beginning with the fact that the tortured history of this landlocked country, whose geographic location as a land bridge between Central Asia and the Middle East, and in modern times also as a potentially vital energy bridge, entitles the Afghan people to believe that they are uniquely cursed.
The inordinate price they have been forced to pay since the US-backed Mujahadeen overran the country in the early nineties, all the way up to now at the end of 18 years of US/NATO attacks, occupation, and the propping up of a series of corrupt governments in Kabul, should be inscribed on the gravestone of what has passed for foreign policy in the West since the Soviet Union departed the scene.
As it did in Yugoslavia, as it did in Iraq, and as it did in Libya, Western intervention in Afghanistan only succeeded in making a bad situation many times worse. It has exacerbated religious, tribal and communal tensions instead of alleviating them.
Though, given the above, any peace deal that will hasten the departure of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan is to be welcomed, the devil as ever is in the detail.
And the devil in this particular instance is the CIA.
Before we come on to that and them, though, let us first consider the terms of the draft agreement, arrived at after eight rounds of talks over two weeks in the Qatari capital of Doha (though at the time of writing yet to be ratified by President Trump).
They require that in return for the complete withdrawal of US and NATO forces the Taliban will not allow the territory under its control,predominantly but not exclusively in the south of the country, to be used as a base and launchpad for terrorist groups such as Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and Al-Qaeda.
The terms of the agreement also mandate intra-Afghan dialogue between the various factions in the country engaged in hostilities. However whether the Taliban will accept the current Afghan government in Kabul, led by Ashraf Ghani, as a legitimate participant in any such future dialogue remains to be seen.
Up to this point, the Pashtun nationalist movement has steadfastly refused to recognise the government in Kabul. It has dismissed it as a US puppet regime, and in line with that has dismissed the upcoming Afghan elections, set to take place on September 28, as a sham.'
Read more: Whatever the CIA's been up to in Afghanistan it's nothing good
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