FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 28, 2019
WASHINGTON, DC—Defense Priorities policy director Benjamin H. Friedman issued the following statement in response to the ongoing peace talks between the Trump administration’s special representative for Afghanistan, Former U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, and the Taliban:
“It is good news that the Taliban has agreed to a framework where it will keep terrorists out of territory it holds. But U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan does not require the Taliban’s goodwill or effectiveness. With congressional authorization, the United States can always target terrorists who threaten Americans—and whoever tolerates them. Denying terrorists haven serves the self-interest of the Taliban’s leadership.
“The United States long ago achieved the aims that caused us to go to war in Afghanistan: largely destroying the al-Qaeda network that organized the 9/11 attacks and overthrowing the Taliban regime that hosted them. Since then, the U.S. war in Afghanistan has been a failed attempt at the far more ambitious, and unnecessary, goal of building an Afghan state that runs all of the country without insurgent resistance. That goal is neither possible at reasonable cost nor necessary to U.S. counterterrorism success.
“It is past time for U.S. military forces to stop fighting in Afghanistan.”