After months of negotiations, the U.S. seems prepared to come to an agreement with the Taliban, according to which Washington will remove its troops from Afghanistan while the Taliban will agree to share power with the country’s current government and provide assurances that it will cease allying with terrorist groups and instead become a partner in combating jihadists. Andrew C. McCarthy comments:
The Taliban will soon be ruling Afghanistan again, just as it did in those years before 9/11. That is when al-Qaeda was encouraged to make Afghanistan the headquarters of its global anti-American jihad. In recent years, while we were fixated on Islamic State, al-Qaeda became stronger, more resilient, and more battle-hardened. When the Taliban retakes control, al-Qaeda will be right back in business. Lest we forget, its business is killing Americans.
American forces have been deployed in Afghanistan for eighteen years. It may seem like an endless mission because of the half-hearted, ill-conceived way it has been executed. But is it an “endless war”—to borrow President Trump’s worst hyperbole (which is saying something)? If it is, that is only because our enemies have never stopped being at war with us, and we have never resolved to defeat them. . . .
Al-Qaeda remains closely aligned with both Taliban leadership and the most important Taliban elements—such as the [Pakistani terrorist groups] Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba. At the same time, unsurprisingly, the Taliban continues to terrorize, and to deny the legitimacy of, the rickety, U.S.-backed government in Kabul—whose days are numbered once U.S. forces exit.
Bluntly, by pulling out of Afghanistan at this moment, we are enabling re-creation of the conditions that obtained circa 1998 through 2001. That is when al-Qaeda repeatedly mass-murdered Americans, attacking our embassies in eastern Africa, our naval destroyer Cole, and, ultimately, the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
[The truth is], it is easy to end an endless war. . . . All you have to do is surrender.