The Trump Administration continues to hold out April as a goal for finalizing a peace deal in Afghanistan. There is little public sign of progress being made toward that end, however, and reasons to be pessimistic.
US talks with the Taliban have been limited, and what’s happened so far is unclear. The Afghan government’s peace council has expressed opposition to the US making deals with the Taliban without them, while the Taliban has seen little reason to negotiate with an Afghan government that doesn’t have the power to make any deals without US permission.
But most importantly, the military situation in Afghanistan keeps getting worse, not better. This is derailing military expectations that they can enforce a better settlement in the future, and also has the military increasingly vocal in opposition to withdrawing from Afghanistan in defeat.
This all combines into a lot of push-back against getting a deal done in the next few months, and combining that with the administration’s constant interest in blaming Pakistan when the war is going badly, it’s hard to envision everyone coming to a reasonable realization that the Afghan War is better off ending sooner, rather than later.
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