Saturday February 2, 2019
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday February 2, 2019
No victory for U.S. as it leaves Afghanistan
The long and pointless Afghan War may finally be coming to an end. If so, this will be a relief for the U.S. and its coalition allies operating there. It certainly won’t be a victory.
The broad strokes of a deal in principle between the United States and Taliban insurgents were released this week. They are not likely to bring much solace to the families of soldiers — including Canadians — who fought and died in the 17-year-old conflict.
There is no mention of ensuring that girls can go to school, which at one point was given by Canada’s government as the rationale for this war.
There is no mention of defeating the “scumbags” as Canada’s then top general Rick Hillier described the Taliban. Indeed, it seems likely that the Taliban will be guaranteed a major political role in the country.
There is no mention of bringing democracy and development to Afghanistan — another of the Canadian government’s ostensible reasons for the war.
The essence of the deal, as described to the New York Times by chief U.S. negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad, is simple and familiar.
The Taliban will ensure that terrorists don’t use Afghanistan as a base to attack the West. The Americans, along with the 38 allied nations still operating there, will withdraw their troops.
Ironically, the agreement in principle bears a marked resemblance to the offer that Afghanistan’s then Taliban government made to the U.S. in 2001 after the 9/11 terror attacks.
Don’t invade, the Taliban said then. And in return we will expel terror mastermind Osama bin Laden to a third country. (Continued: Toronto Star)