Speaking on Press TV’s The Debate show on Sunday, author and journalist Daniel Lazare said US President Donald Trump was really seeking a deal with the Afghan Taliban militant group, but “I think it [the US] is unable to get a deal that it will regard as satisfactory.”
“Washington invaded Afghanistan 18 years ago in order to dislodge the Taliban, and this deal essentially meant turning the country back into the Taliban’s hands,” Lazare said, adding the US has today achieved no result in its military campaign against the militants, Presstv Reported.
Trump “really faced an impossible situation. He wants to pull out, but he knows the second he does, the country will fall into civil war…and the country will return to the anarchy of the 1990s and the US would accomplish absolutely nothing.”
“The US cannot pull out. There is no way out. It is caught in a trap,” he said. “The US is now in a quagmire; it has no way extricating itself.”
Lazare further said, “It is very easy to invade a country and it’s very hard to get out, and that’s the problem the US faces.”
The Taliban’s five-year rule over at least three quarters of Afghanistan came to an end following the US-led invasion in 2001, but 18 years on, Washington is now seeking a truce with the militants, who still control large swathes of territory.
After several rounds of talks held between the US and the Taliban in the Qatari capital, Doha over almost a year ago, Trump said he was canceling the talks over a recent deadly attack by the Taliban in Kabul last week.
Predicting the Taliban’s possible reaction to Trump’s move, Lazare said that they “intend to step up hostilities and the US will, therefore, have to deploy more troops, or at least fight harder with the forces it has in place.”
“The Taliban sense an advantage; they are really controlling the situation. The US is desperate to escape, but it really can’t. So the Taliban, in a sense, have the US where they want them,” he pointed out.
The author also described the Doha peace process as “purposeless negotiations” that are essentially meant to provide “smokescreen for what is, in fact, US retreat.”
“The US just cannot win in Afghanistan, it does not have resources.” he said. “The situation there is militarily, extremely disadvantageous, so the US is looking for a way out. And Trump was hoping that the Taliban would make it easy for him but the Taliban is not, so he is stuck.”
‘Direct intra-Afghan talks only way out’
Jonathan Fryer, an author and lecturer who was also participating in The Debate, said “if there is going to be any sort of peace” in Afghanistan, “there have to be direct talks.”
The US government “still very much does see the Taliban as a terrorist organization but it also has to recognize the fact that the Taliban now controls about 70 percent of the country,” he said.
The commentator further said, “What the international forces have been trying to do — and, in principle, the Americans will continue to do — is to train the Afghan national army to take over complete control,” Fryer said, arguing that “that has not happened yet successfully, partly - let’s admit it - because the Taliban keeps targeting the Afghan police force and army.”
“What the Afghan government wants of course is a ceasefire that so far the Taliban has said no to that,” he concluded.