In an exclusive interview with Breitbart, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated after the cease-fire negotiations between the Afghan government and Taliban leaders in Qatar that the process for the complete withdrawal of U.S. military forces from the country in April or May next year is moving forward.
The peace talks are the result of the agreement signed between the United States, the Afghan government, and Taliban leaders on Feb. 29 that paved the way for the complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.
Nineteen years ago, after the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York on September 11, 2001, the United States invaded Afghanistan because the Taliban were harboring the terrorist group Al-Qaeda in the country, particularly Osama bin Laden the mastermind of the attack, which brought the war to that place.
Pompeo said, “So, 19 years after 9/11, we finally have the Afghans prepared to sit down and have a serious conversation about taking their country forward without all the violence,” Pompeo said. “President Trump laid out two objectives: One, reduce the American footprint there and get our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines—get everybody home. Stop getting people killed there. Get the maximum extent feasible. Second, we’re going to have to make sure we protect the homeland. I think we’re, today, on our way to putting America in a place where we can do both of those things.”
Most importantly, Pompeo stressed that Taliban leaders have pledged not to harbor terrorists, primarily al-Qaeda, any longer, to break off relations with them. Second, both the government and the Taliban leaders must ensure that no outside actors ruin the treaty: “There are many hands who would like to see this undone and would like to see America mired in Afghanistan for another 20 years. Both the Afghan government and the Taliban have a responsibility to prevent that,” Pompeo said. Of course, the U.S. government will monitor all the progress and make sure that the decision to completely withdraw troops from the country is made with these conditions met.
According to the secretary of state, one of the central challenges facing the country is the distribution of power between the government and the Taliban.
“In the end, the central challenge is what will the Afghan government look like,” Pompeo said. “What will be the power-sharing arrangement? This is a challenge anytime you have throughout history insurgencies and other times when nations have civil strife. We took al-Qaeda out, and the Taliban still has weapons and the capacity to inflict damage. We made clear to them when I met with them today—the Taliban—that they have an obligation to reduce violence immediately and significantly so these negotiations can proceed. So there will be issues of power-sharing and how the government is established at the center of the conversation.”
According to the Statista website, from 2001 to 2020, there were 2,450 U.S. soldier casualties in the war with Afghanistan and according to the U.S. Department of Defense, total military spending in Afghanistan (from October 2001 to September 2019) was $778 billion, according to the BBC.
President Trump is moving forward with his promise of ending endless wars for Americans. Last week Gen. Kenneth Franklin “Frank” Mckenzie Jr. of the US Central Command announced the withdrawal of 3,000 troops from Iraq, as the local army’s preparedness to fight ISIS on its own improved.