Trump Disinvites Taliban From Slumber Party, Tells Friends They're 'On A Break'
Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to bring American troops home from Afghanistan. And Trump is a man of his word, which is why he's increased American boots on the ground from 8,400 when Obama left office to 14,000 today. But those are just, like, numbers or whatever. The important thing is that Trump has a plan to get us out of Afghanistan after 18 years by extracting a pinky swear from the Taliban not to host anti-American terrorists and then hollering BEST OF LUCK to the current Afghan government as we get the hell out of Dodge.
Obviously, Trump could win this war "so fast, if I wanted to kill 10 million people" out of a total Afghan population of 35 million. But the man is a fuckin' y-umanitarian, so he wants to go the Hanoi route instead. Guaranteed Nobel Prize!
The Daily Beast has a good rundown of US-Taliban talks as of last week -- because, as it turns out, we do negotiate with terrorists. Taliban leaders refused to sit down and speak directly to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's representatives "because we do not recognize the stooge government," so US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad was dispatched for ten months of talks in Qatar to see what, if anything, could be salvaged before Trump makes a run for the hills in advance of our election. Hey, how does NOTHING sound? Does nothing work for you?
The assurance that Afghanistan will no longer harbor terrorists aiming to attack the United States is a relatively easy one for the Taliban to make. They were dragged into the war that deposed them by a misplaced loyalty to their relationship with Osama bin Laden. As for the so-called Islamic State, it is a direct threat to their own power.
The withdrawal of U.S. troops is supposed to begin within 135 days of a signed agreement and last no longer than 14 months. The Taliban also agree they will not attack U.S. troops "during the evacuation" and "neither will the U.S. have any military collaboration with the Afghan government."
So we'll leave the weak, Afghan government to their fate if the Taliban promises not to ally with ISIS. What a deal!
Or maybe not, since Khalilzad was talking about an "agreement in principle" that was just waiting for America's Dealmaker in Chief to sign off -- "Of course, it is not final until the U.S. president agrees on it." -- while the Taliban was stepping up violent attacks on Kunduz and said it hadn't agreed to anything.
But Arty McDeals knew that the whole situation could be resolved quickly if the parties would just come bask in his orange glow together. WHY NOT invite the Taliban and the Afghan government to Camp David on the anniversary of 9/11 for an impromptu get-together so the American President could play Great White Peacemaker for the cameras? It was, as the New York Times put it, "a prospect that appealed to the president's penchant for dramatic spectacle." Which is a weird way to spell ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MIND?!?! But, whatevs:
Mr. Trump did not want the Camp David meeting to be a celebration of the deal; after staying out of the details of what has been a delicate effort in a complicated region, Mr. Trump wanted to be the dealmaker who would put the final parts together himself, or at least be perceived to be.
The idea was for Mr. Trump to hold separate meetings at Camp David with the Taliban and with Mr. Ghani, leading to a more global resolution.
Sure Khalilzad was negotiating for ten straight months to broker this crap deal that would provide Trump a fig leaf cover to GTFO of an unpopular war. But Donald Trump is greedy little man who insists upon taking all the credit and none of the blame. (Did you guys see him claim to have saved the Bahamas from Hurricane Dorian? Jiminy Christmas!) So when he floated the idea of inviting the Taliban to Camp David for negotiations, he knew he could count on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to pull his head out from nuzzling Trump's thigh rolls to tell him what a super idea it was, sir, thank you, sir!
Only National Security Adviser John Bolton said HELL TO THE NO, because he thinks we should just pack our shit and forget about the negotiations -- at least that way Trump can say he fulfilled a campaign promise to end the war without sitting down and having to talk to people who have killed thousands of American troops.
But asskissing will get you everywhere in Trumpland, so the Camp David invites went out. Let's just do it and be legends, they said. LEGENDS WITH A NOBEL PEACE PRIZE. (Probably.)
And they would have gotten away with it if it weren't for those meddling kids! Because the Taliban said they weren't coming unless they had a signed deal in-pocket beforehand. And the Afghan government nixed the idea of releasing thousands of Taliban prisoners without a cease fire, which is about as likely as Kim Jong Un agreeing to give up nukes before coming to the table to talk -- violence and threats are the only cards they have, they're not giving them up while the game's still being played. (Let's be honest, they're not giving them up ever.)
At which point Donald Trump decided to take credit for canceling the debacle himself, because that's how Poppy rolls.
The Taliban can't break up with Donald Trump! Donald Trump is breaking up with the Taliban! And he's recalling Special Representative Khalilzad to boot. Well played, John Bolton!
Oh, Lord. HE'S STILL TALKING.
We are sooooo fuuuuuuuuuucked.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.