Leave now, extension, or indefinite stay: Biden’s 3 bad Afghanistan options

“Today, the insurgents control more territory in Afghanistan than they did in 2001 when the US invaded”

“President Joe Biden has been presented with three broad options for how to prolong or end America’s involvement in the 20-year Afghanistan War — and all three have significant drawbacks for the administration and the Afghan people.

Here’s what Biden’s military and intelligence advisers offered up in recent days, as reported by the New York Times and the Washington Post’s David Ignatius, details of which I later confirmed.

The first option is to adhere to former President Donald Trump’s deal with the Taliban, which would require Biden to withdraw all remaining 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan by May 1. The second is to negotiate an extension with the insurgent group, allowing American forces to remain in the country beyond early May. And third is to defy the Trump-Taliban pact altogether and keep fighting in Afghanistan with no stated end date.

Each plan has serious pitfalls”

“If the US leaves in the next three months, it’s likely the Taliban will overrun the US-backed Afghan government and once again make life worse for millions of Afghans, especially women and children.

Staying in Afghanistan just a little bit longer would likely delay that takeover, but would also expend any diplomatic capital the US has left with the Taliban and keep US troops in harm’s way.

Finally, violating the terms of the agreement and remaining indefinitely will almost certainly lead the Taliban to restart its campaign, put on hold ahead of the May 1 deadline, to kill American service members in the country.”

“Multiple US officials told me in recent days that the administration’s Afghanistan policy review is nearing its end, with one telling me they expect Biden to make a decision “very soon.””

“There’s just no guarantee that the Afghan government and the Taliban will actually make a deal. After months or even years of talking, it’s possible neither side will make concessions to the other to hash out a comprehensive peace pact. If that’s the case, US troops will have remained in danger for little to no progress.”


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