News & Politics

Shades of Vietnam: U.S. Has Intel Showing Taliban Have No Intention of Abiding by Peace Deal

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump watch as a U.S. Army carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Chief Warrant Officer 2 David C. Knadle, of Tarrant, Texas, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. According to the Department of Defense, Knadle died in Afghanistan when his helicopter crashed while providing security for troops on the ground in eastern Logar Province. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Several officials are saying that persuasive intelligence has been collected revealing that the Taliban do not intend to keep the promises they made to the U.S. in the recently-signed peace deal.

“They have no intention of abiding by their agreement,” said one official briefed on the intelligence. NBC News reports that two other officials described the intel as explicit evidence shedding light on the Taliban’s intentions.

The president has hinted at that possibility, saying the Taliban could “possibly” take over the Afghan government after U.S. troops leave.

The intelligence described by the American officials is consistent with what Taliban sources have been saying in Pakistan. Those Taliban representatives say the group views the peace process as a way of securing the withdrawal of American “occupiers,” after which it will attack the U.S.-backed government in Afghanistan.

Vietnam redux.

“We will ask the Afghan leadership and other political factions that since the U.S. has accepted us and recognized our position, it is time for you to accept us and give us the country peacefully,” said one Taliban member, who was not authorized to speak to the media.

The agreement signed Saturday envisions something very different. In exchange for an American pledge to withdraw all troops in 14 months, the Taliban promised to stop harboring terrorists and to enter into peace talks with an Afghan government-led delegation.

“Look, we all hope they follow through with their side of the agreement, but we believe we know their true intentions,” one official familiar with the intelligence said.

Nixon and Kissinger harbored no illusions about the intentions of the North Vietnamese once U.S. troops left South Vietnam. The difference with today is, they didn’t care. We supposedly have learned our lesson from Vietnam about “cutting and running.” Some lessons apparently never take.

You can make the argument that the deal with the Taliban was the best deal that could have been negotiated. Nixon and Kissinger said the same thing. All that’s missing this time is the “peace with honor” slogan.

The sad fact is, the administration knows what’s coming and is powerless to stop it.

A former U.S. official directly familiar with planning acknowledged that the administration understands the risks of a “Vietnam War” style ending to the war in Afghanistan, in which the Taliban renege on the deal and overrun the country. But no one is saying that publicly.

Please, no images of desperate Afghans hanging off the last American helicopter that leaves Kabul.