On today's update of the Afghan Peace talks, we're quickly realizing Combat Flip Flops might be the one of a handful of U.S. sources providing you information on what's happening to end America's longest and most expensive war.
Do a quick Google Search of "Afghan Peace Talks," then sort by date. You'll find a shortage of American media reporting on it. Have no fear, we're here for you.
Here's the skinny as of 17 0630PST Sep 2020.
Member of the Taliban Dream Team Meets with Secretary Pompeo
One of the "Taliban Five" captured in 2002 and held in Guantanamo Bay for 12 years met with Secretary Mike Pompeo in Doha on September 13th. Faiz Mohammad was captured by U.S. forces in 2002 and released in 2016 in the Bowe Bergdahl prisoner exchange negotiated by the Obama Administration.
(Photo Cred: @fayezalkandary via Twitter via BBC)
In a statement in 2016 regarding the release, Congressman Pompeo stated,“I’ve seen nothing that causes me to believe these folks are reformed or [have] changed their ways or intend to re-integrate to society in ways to give me any confidence that they will not return in trying to do harm to America.” It's 2020, maybe this situation isn't that crazy--comparatively.
Can't say we're disappointed in the honesty of the recent statements by Secretary Pompeo. We've been at this for nearly 20 years and somebody is finally doing something about the cost of the Afghan War.
In a statement to the Atlantic council, Secretary Pompeo stated,“We are now delivering a set of outcomes that will reduce the costs in blood from our American servicemen and women, in treasure from the American taxpayer and risk to the USA.”
In a following statement, Pompeo Stated, “For the first time now in 20 years, Afghans sat down together to begin to pound out what a reconciled peaceful Afghanistan might look like. Under no illusion about who we are negotiating with, who these parties are, how difficult that process will be."
The Afghan problem is complex, constantly shifting, and unlikely to be solved before the U.S. elections, but it will be interesting to hear about the stated "wins" in the upcoming months.
US Peace Talks Ambassador Khalilzad Interview
It's still early and the jury is out on America's Afghan-born Peace Talk Ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, but this interview shows that he's a competent negotiator, interviews well, and is doing his best to place the problem where it belongs--in the hands of the Afghans. This 24 minute interview covers a lot of topics with the majority of responses pointing responsibility to the responsible parties.
In an Al Jazeera interview, Khalilzah clearly states that U.S. presence is condition based and once those conditions are met, the U.S. will bounce. This is a different tact than taken by the Obama administration from 2012-2014 when the U.S. committed to ending the war in 2014. It's been six years and we're still there. Only time will tell if the U.S. will keep it's word this time.