TURES COLUMN: Doha deal doomed the Afghan regime and our U.S. military mission
Published 10:30 am Friday, September 3, 2021
As our Afghan government collapsed in August, Americans wondered aloud what happened. When you read the Doha Agreement from 2020, you’ll see exactly why our ally fell apart, imperiling our military mission and any successes our country built over the last 20 years.
The Doha Deal, signed on February 29, 2020, is actually known as “The Agreement for Bringing Peace to Afghanistan which is not recognized by the United States as a state and is known as the Taliban and the United States of America.” That is no joke. It’s the real name of the agreement. You can read it here if you don’t believe me: https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Agreement-For-Bringing-Peace-to-Afghanistan-02.29.20.pdf. We signed a deal with a regime that we don’t even recognize that based al-Qaeda on 9/11.
The deal called for the U.S. to end UN sanctions on the Taliban by May 29, 2020, enabling the Taliban insurgents to refinance themselves.
The Trump Administration forced the Afghan government to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners by March 10, while the Taliban would release 1,000 government soldiers. You can probably guess who benefitted from that uneven deal. It swelled the ranks of the Taliban fighters, helping them overwhelm the Afghan Army.
And, in Section F, “The United States and its allies will refrain from the threat or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Afghanistan or intervening in its domestic affairs,” giving the Taliban the green light to overthrow our allies without opposition from us.
Trump backed this up by reducing our troop presence from 13,000 to 8,600 by the Summer of 2020, while other NATO members only cut a quarter of their troops. The Doha Deal also closed five U.S. military bases by the Summer of 2020.
Meanwhile, the Taliban continued attacks, with a bombing that killed kids, and even an assassination attempt on an Afghan negotiator, nearly killing her. Taliban attacks rose by 70% in 2020 over 2019, and the number of Afghans killed doubled after the Doha Deal was signed in 2020. Our Afghan allies weren’t invited to the talks, or largely consulted on matters.
Some in Congress recognized the danger of the Doha Deal. More than 20 House Republicans wrote a letter condemning the agreement (https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-sign-historic-deal-taliban-beginning-end-us/story?id=69287465). The House Armed Services Committee voted in a bipartisan manner by a wide margin for an amendment that attempted to block any U.S. troop reductions below 8,600. But in January 2021, before Biden was even inaugurated, only 2,500 U.S. soldiers remained in Afghanistan, less than 20 percent of their total back in 2019.
In the last year of the Obama Administration, the U.S. killed Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, the leader of the Taliban in a drone strike in Pakistan. Six years earlier under Obama, U.S. intelligence was used to help Pakistan nab Taliban military leader Abdul Ghani Baradar.
In mid-2018, U.S. negotiators pressured Pakistan to release him. Baradar not only signed the Doha Agreement, but is expected to be the Taliban’s new President of Afghanistan.
“Former President Donald Trump went on a radio show Monday and complained at length that some news outlets were covering the devastating Hurricane Ida more than what he called his ‘great agreement’ with the Taliban,” reported Business Insider.
I think Trump is on to something. We should focus a lot more on the Doha Agreement … and its role in undermining the Afghanistan government, as well as our U.S. military mission.