Troops in Afghanistan

Army troops conduct patrols with a platoon of Afghan national army soldiers.

Sami Jabarkhail is an educational human resource development Ph.D. candidate. He was born in Afghanistan.

On Sept. 7, 2019, the U.S. President Donald J. Trump made international headlines. This time, he canceled the U.S. peace deal with the Taliban. The deal was agreed upon in principle by both sides, the American and the Taliban after protracted tense negotiations. Under the agreed-upon framework, the U.S. would withdraw over 5,000 troops within a period of five months. In return, the Taliban will ensure safe passage, assure that they will never use Afghanistan as a haven for militants and that the group will enter into a negotiation with the Afghan Government.

There are three conflicting accounts as to why President Trump canceled the deal. The first narrative is that the Taliban opposed President’s Trump’s proposal to finalize negotiations at Camp David in the presence of Media. Provided their record of violence highlighted in the news, the Taliban has often expressed their disdain for the Media.

The second account is that the Taliban bombing in Kabul on Sept. 7 swayed the President, which took the lives of 11 civilians and a U.S serviceman. “An attack in Kabul that killed one of our great great soldiers, and 11 other people. I immediately cancelled the meeting [with the Taliban] and called off peace negotiations.” tweeted President Trump on Sept. 7.

Lastly, the deal with the Taliban had less or no support from the diplomatic corps in Washington, DC. Many of the former Ambassadors, key senators, and members of the Congress objected the deal with the Taliban, arguing that the group cannot be trusted.

No matter which side holds the truth, the point is that alternative to a peace deal is nothing but a perpetual war. That is not in the interest of either side, the U.S., the Afghan Government, and the Taliban. The primary victims of all warring sides are the people of Afghanistan. The United Nations’ Assistance Mission in Afghanistan reported 3,812 casualties as a result of the on-going conflict since the beginning of 2019.

The 18 years of on-going conflict is a testament to the fact that war isn’t the solution. Since 2001, the total number of U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan is about 2,400, and the bloodshed wounded nearly 20,090 in combat. The fundamental question confronting the U.S. President, therefore, is: how many more commemorative certificates he has to sign to the families of the brave men and women in uniform making the ultimate sacrifice before he pursues a peaceful solution.

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