Should American Troops Leave Afghanistan?

LHS teacher weighs in on the U.S. - Taliban peace agreement

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Should American Troops Leave Afghanistan?

LHS history teacher, Tom Stedman addresses the tentative U.S.-Taliban Peace Agreement.

LHS history teacher, Tom Stedman addresses the tentative U.S.-Taliban Peace Agreement.

LHS history teacher, Tom Stedman addresses the tentative U.S.-Taliban Peace Agreement.

LHS history teacher, Tom Stedman addresses the tentative U.S.-Taliban Peace Agreement.

Emma Deeter, Editorial Editor

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After two weeks of negotiation, the U.S. and the Taliban have reached a tentative agreement to end the war in Afghanistan. According to the New York Times, the U.S. diplomat overseeing negotiations with the Taliban, U.S. presidential envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, said the agreement relies on the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and a commitment from the insurgents to cut all ties with al Qaeda or other terrorist groups.

The peace agreement would require U.S soldiers to leave Afghanistan, but in return, the Taliban would not be able to use Afghanistan as a central for terrorism. They would be required to cease-fire and would need to communicate with the Afghan government.

Lancaster High School history teacher, Tom Stedman says this agreement is timely.

“From the perspective of the current administration, it may be time to wind down extensive American military participation in Afghanistan,” he said.

“Similar to the decision to end American military participation in Iraq in which was negotiated in 2008 and completed in 2011.”

The Taliban are a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist group that is primarily based in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The war with the Taliban, known as America’s longest war, has been ongoing for 17 years. Over 2,400 American lives have been lost as a result of this war.

U.S. presidential envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is the  top U.S. diplomat overseeing negotiations with the Taliban.

The United States declared war against them in an attempt to release the Taliban’s control of Afghanistan.
Khalilzad, in an interview with the New York Times, said the peace negotiations have been “more productive than they have been in the past” but that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”

“We want peace quickly, we want it soon, but we want it with prudence,” Mr. Ghani, the Afghan President said.
“Prudence is important so we do not repeat past mistakes.”

Despite the fact that peace may be on the horizon, some Afghan women fear that if troops leave, no one will be there to protect women, especially if the Taliban will be able to be a part of the government again. Before Americans were in Afghanistan, no one stopped the Taliban from treating the women there poorly. Afghan women want to finally have peace in Afghanistan but they want women’s rights to be a part of the conversation.

Many more questions need to be answered before the Trump administration takes a deep breath of relief and takes credit for the peace agreement.

“Will the Taliban co-exist with the current Afghan government?” asked Mr. Stedman.

History has a way of repeating itself – and sometimes not for the better.

“Looking at what happened when U.S. military involvement ended in South Vietnam in 1973, may provide a blueprint for what may happen in Afghanistan,” he said.

Mr. Stedman noted how the current situation is reminiscent of the early 1970s; a new Ford administration, the Case-Church amendment that refused intervention in the Vietnam War, and the eventuality of North Vietnam taking over South Vietnam in 1975.