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There’s Still a Path Forward With the Taliban

Dean Emeritus Admiral James Stavridis explains why he thinks Trump was right to cancel the recent Camp David meeting, via his Bloomberg Opinion column.

President Trump is taking a lot of criticism for abruptly cancelling talks he had hoped to sponsor between the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan at Camp David. But he was right to do so – his announcement sent a signal that the Taliban must demonstrate in far more concrete ways a commitment to a peaceful negotiation to end nearly two decades of war.

I say this from experience. When I headed the NATO mission in Afghanistan as supreme allied commander for all global operations from 2009-2013, I studied the Taliban closely. The movement’s name itself simply means “students” in Pashtun, and it is a movement that learned about taking and using power - enough to dominate Afghanistan after the overthrow of the Russian-backed central government before 9/11. Taliban leaders facilitated and protected al-Qaeda, and provided support in the attacks against the U.S. I found them to be tenacious, determined, resilient and utterly implacable foes who took the long view. “The Americans have all the watches, but we have all the time,” was a favorite saying.

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