Ten years after America entered Afghanistan and began a decade-long campaign against the Taliban, the Obama administration is making moves to throw in the towel and evacuate the foreign nation.
The White House is hoping to increase correspondence with Taliban officials in hopes of exiting Afghanistan and seceding from a lengthy war that has yielded mixed results for America. Despite ongoing hostilities between the nations and increased skirmishes, the Obama administration is considering a quick exit as the only way to salvage the war, abandoning any chance at conquering the insurgency in lieu of taking off with its proverbial tail between its legs.
Terrorists aligned with al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, at the time in Afghanistan, attacked the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, an action that yielded the George W. Bush administration to launch an attack on Afghanistan and bin Laden. After nearly a decade of fighting, bin Laden was executed by American troops earlier this year.
If America is awarded any victory in the lengthy bout, it was come by way of the opening of the Taliban’s first official office. The US has expressed hopes over the last few months to establish an embassy of sorts for the insurgency in hopes that it will open the door for negotiations between the enemies. An Obama administration official speaking under condition of anonymity told the New York Times earlier this year that such a structure would serve “like a residence where they can be treated like a political party,” and would allow the Taliban’s political structure to operate “free from the threat or harassment or arrest.”
Under negotiations, such an office is expected to be opened up in Qatar, a Middle Eastern state outside of the United Arab Emirates, a current crucial ally in America’s budding war with Iran.
Mere weeks before the recent talks of accelerating discussions between the groups opened up, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said that America’s war with Afghanistan is moving “in the right direction” and told troops near the country’s border with Pakistan that America is “winning this very tough conflict.” In reality, however, this year has seen some of the worst attacks on American soldiers in Afghanistan since the war began. In August 2011 alone, 66 US military personnel were lost. The number of Americans killed in Afghanistan in 2011 has already exceeded 400, a number that pales to the grand total of troops killed in the decade-long battle.
Although insurgency remains rampant overseas, American officials are also expected as part of the deal with Afghanistan to transfer captured soldiers allegedly aligned to the Taliban from their current captivity in the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to an overseas institution. The US had earlier asked if they could release the inmates to a third-party country, such as Qatar, which was met with opposition from the Taliban. Insiders reveal to the Associated Press, however, that Afghan President Hamid Karzai is demanding that the captured men be released into Afghanistan and nowhere else.
Among the men the US will release from custody by seceding the war is former Heart Governor Khairullah Khairkhwa, who has been held at Gitmo for over nine years.
"As soon as I was released, I met President Karzai and he promised that he would not allow Afghan prisoners to be sent anywhere except Afghanistan," Haji Ruhollah, an Afghan formerly held at Guantanamo tells the AP. "They are all Afghans and they should be brought and kept in Afghanistan."