Trump’s Major Military Achievement: Afghanistan’s Historic First Step Towards Peace

During an unusually busy news day that includes the coronavirus healthcare threat and the Democratic Party’s South Carolina primary, and the continuing anti-Trump media hate-fest, the U.S. Defense Department has announced a major development in Afghanistan that may end the almost 19-year battle against Al-Qaeda the equally violent Taliban.

At a ceremony held at the Presidential with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and the US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, marking the Joint Declaration between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and signature of an agreement between the United States and the Taliban, NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: 

“The agreements between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and between the United States and the Taliban, promise to end decades of devastating conflict and to pave the way for negotiations among Afghans, as they begin to build a better future for all. This is a victory for peace and a victory for the Afghan people. Through their bravery and determination, and the support of the international community, Afghanistan is a very different country today than it was in 2001. I have seen this transformation, from despair to hope, driven by a deep desire for peace, in the eyes of every Afghan I have met.”

He also stressed that, “the challenge now is to preserve these gains. The price of peace cannot be to sacrifice progress. Peace will only be sustainable if the human rights of all Afghans – women, men and children – are protected.” 

The Secretary General noted that “the time for peace is now,” stating that NATO Allies and partners stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Afghan people, as they have done since the 2001 counter-terrorism operation began.

NATO Secretary General’s delegation also met with the Commander of the Resolute Support Mission, General Austin Miller, and with NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan, Ambassador Sir Nicholas Kay, as well as with Allied ambassadors, representatives of the European Union and United Nations, and Afghan senior officials.

NATO has been engaged in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, which for the first time in history triggered its collective defense clause, Article 5, in support of the US. Through the combat ISAF mission and currently the training Resolute Support mission, hundreds of thousands of men and women from NATO Allies and partners countries have served in Afghanistan, and over 3,000 have paid the ultimate price.

Recent progress on peace has ushered in a reduction of violence and paved the way for intra-Afghan negotiations between a fully inclusive Afghan national team and the Taliban to reach a comprehensive peace agreement. We call on the Taliban to embrace this opportunity for peace.

In this context, the Alliance and its partners in the Resolute Support Mission will implement conditions-based adjustments, including a reduction to our military presence.

Talaban leaders read peace agreement.

We now expect the commencement of intra-Afghan negotiations leading to an enduring and comprehensive peace agreement that puts an end to violence, safeguards the human rights of all Afghans, including women and children, upholds the rule of law, and ensures that Afghanistan never again serves as a safe haven for terrorists. It is important that all parties engage constructively in this process.

NATO reaffirms its longstanding commitment to Afghanistan and ongoing support for the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces. We are committed to working with the Afghan people and government to support next steps toward peace.

For eighteen years, NATO and our partners have stood with the people of Afghanistan in the pursuit of security and stability. We honour the women and men from Allied and partner nations who served and especially those who gave their lives for the cause of peace. We pay tribute to the great sacrifices made by the people of Afghanistan and, in particular, the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces, over the course of this long conflict. These efforts have laid the foundation for building a sustainable peace.

Edited by Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP, is founder and CEO of Kouri Associates, a homeland security, public safety and political consulting firm. He's formerly Fifth Vice-President, now a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, a columnist, and a contributor to the nationally syndicated talk-radio program, the Chuck Wilder Show.. He's former chief of police at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at St. Peter's University and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country.

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