On Sunday, March 7, an Afghan media outlet, TOLOnews, published a leaked letter from Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to President Ashraf Ghani. TOLOnews also published an eight-page “peace” proposal by the State Department. While Foggy Bottom hasn’t yet officially acknowledged the authenticity of either document, American press outlets have cited anonymous officials confirming that both documents are genuine.
Per the February 29, 2020, agreement between the Trump administration and the Taliban, the U.S. has until May 1, 2021, to withdraw all American forces from Afghanistan. If the Biden administration fails to do so, then U.S. forces could be more frequently targeted by the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and allied jihadists once again. For the past year, the jihadists have been willing to let the Americans leave. That could change quickly if May 1 comes and goes without a withdrawal extension. Thus far, the Taliban has rejected any suggestion that U.S. or allied forces stay past the agreed upon withdrawal date.
It is with that fast-approaching date in mind that the two State Department documents were written. The proposed “peace” plan is an act of desperation filled with holes. Let’s examine several of them, as well as the problems with Blinken’s letter to Ghani.
The Taliban doesn’t want a “political settlement,” other than through its own victory and the resurrection of its totalitarian Islamic Emirate.