With America’s direct involvement scaling down and the threat of the Taliban continuing undeterred, military officials are beginning to face up to the impossibility of one of their primary goals for Afghanistan – forcing to Taliban to commit to a peace deal.
The plans which had once inspired the world to hope for a secure and stable future for Afghanistan have now been largely abandoned for infinitely less appealing alternatives. As it stands, Afghans will be left to their own devices to barter a deal with the Taliban following the exit of Western Military forces, while at the same time making sure Pakistan agrees to any proposed resolution.
Despite ongoing efforts to consult directly with Taliban leaders over the course of the year, American Military and Governmental officials are now making the painful admission that any real progress in Afghanistan will likely not be made under 2014 or later – long after NATO forces have largely exited.
“I don’t see it happening in the next couple years,” according to coalition officials speaking this week while requesting anonymity. “It’s a very resilient enemy, and I’m not going to tell you it’s not. It will be a constant battle, and it will be for years.”
The inability to reach a resolution and carve out a safe and stable path for the future of Afghanistan once again casts further shadows on the positive results of President Obama’s ordered troop surge in 2009. While the 30,000 additional soldiers sent to the conflict-zone were able to reclaim crucial areas occupied by the Taliban, they were unable to have any real impact on the size and strength of the Taliban’s network.
It is also now being suggested that Obama may have sealed the fate of America’s efforts in Afghanistan long in advance, by complying with a proposed 2014 deadline for complete troop withdrawal. In essence, to do so will be to give the Taliban what it has been striving for over the last ten years on a silver platter, according to Obama’s critics.
However, the Obama Administration continues to speak adamantly of its support of the 2014 deadline, citing it as crucial in order to ensure the Afghanistan government steps up and takes command of the country, while at the same time bringing to a close the longest war in American Military history.
The US government has long insisted that its intentions has never been to “kill its way” through Afghanistan and essentially destroy the country in order to rebuild it, but rather to target operations towards encouraging negotiation with the Taliban. As of now however, their ultimate goals consists of little more than laying a rough foundation for negotiations to be organized after withdrawing from the country, with many already questioning the Afghanistan government’s ability to cope.
American officials on the other hand confidently state that the Taliban will be up against a formidable force in the form of the Afghan army, while the government has a strong chance of carving out a long-term peace accord it seems escaped American forces.