Preliminary US-Taliban Deal Reached; 5,000 US Troops Would Leave Afghanistan in Five Months

Deal is pending President Trump's approval

US negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad has reported that the US and Taliban have a peace deal “in principle” now, and that it is just pending approval from President Trump. The Afghan government has confirmed being given a copy of the draft deal.

The specifics are not all public knowledge yet, but negotiators say that the deal would remove some 5,000 US ground troops from Afghanistan in the first five months, in return for the Taliban agreeing to keep ISIS and al-Qaeda out, and reduce violence.

All previous indications were that the deal was meant to see a full withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan. This raises questions since Trump promised last week that he would “always” have a presence in Afghanistan.

With only mentions of 5,000 leaving, it leaves questions of what will happen to the other 8,000 or so troops. It is unthinkable for the Taliban to have not covered this matter, but so far those facts are not known.

What is known is that some in the White House want to expand the number of CIA on the ground in Afghanistan even as troops leave. Both the CIA and military are expressing concerns about this, since the CIA has embedded with troops in the past. The in-administration debate is further adding to resistance to leaving Afghanistan at all.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.