US and Taliban Sign Deal for Withdrawal of American Forces From Afghanistan

Afghans celebrate the Taliban ceasefire that began a week ago. Will it continue during the 14-month withdrawal of US forces? Nobody knows.Xinhua via ZUMA

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We have signed a peace deal with the Taliban! Or, more accurately, we have signed a peace deal with the IEoAwinrbtUSaasaikatT, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan which is not recognized by the United States as a state and is known as the Taliban. The fully written out version is used throughout the text of the agreement.

And a simple agreement it is. The United States agrees to remove all allied forces from Afghanistan within 14 months. The Taliban agrees not to harbor anyone on Afghan soil who poses a security risk to the United States. That’s it, aside from a commitment by the Taliban to “start intra-Afghan negotiations with Afghan sides on March 10, 2020.” There is no commitment to end these negotiations, only a promise that they will take place and will include a “permanent and comprehensive ceasefire” as an agenda item.

This sure seems like a great deal for the Taliban. All they have to do is act like good boys for the next 14 months. Then, when all the US and other foreign troops are gone and it’s obvious they aren’t coming back, they can break off negotiations on some pretext and go back to destroying the Afghan government. Easy peasy.

I’m all in favor of this. It provides a (bare) fig leaf of credibility for the United States, and ends up where things were always bound to end up from the start. Eventually we were always going to leave, and when we did the Taliban would once again have a free hand. If the past is any guide, that means they’ll control the country before long.

The Taliban is a thuggish, murderous, theocratic gang that the world would be better off without. Unfortunately, after 19 years, we still have no good way of eliminating them, and it’s long past time for someone to face this reality and leave. In the same way that only Nixon can go to China, perhaps only Trump could leave Afghanistan. This doesn’t make me like Trump any better, but at least there’s a small silver lining to his presidency.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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