Trump Demands Taliban Curb Afghan Violence Before Meaningful Talks

Offer of a ceasefire as part of peace deal is no longer enough

The US and Taliban had a virtually finalized deal in hand months ago, but President Trump walked away. When talks were finally set to resume, Trump insisted he was conditioning them on a ceasefire as part of the deal. Negotiators were wary, but the Taliban ultimately got their leadership to agree to the ceasefire as part of an overall peace deal.

Clearly not contented with getting what he wanted, President Trump is now saying that there can be no meaningful negotiations with the Taliban at all until they agree to significantly reduce violence.

It’s not clear how that would happen. The Taliban negotiators probably can’t go back to their leadership and say Trump has changed the conditions of the talks again. Moreover, Trump’s statement suggests he wants unilateral Taliban cuts in violence before talks, precluded a negotiated deal to cut violence on both sides.

The give-some, get-some negotiations that seemingly could end the US war in Afghanistan at any time now clearly aren’t Trump’s strong suit, and so long as the president looks at the Taliban agreeing to terms as a sign to demand even more, the war is just going to drag on for years more.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.