By Aaron Kliegman Imagine the US telling the Iraqi government that it had to share power with al Qaeda in Iraq in 2006 — or with ISIS in 2014. Then imagine the US telling the Iraqis they better make the situation work quickly or American troops would leave. One doesn’t need to support our military interventions in Iraq to see that such a policy would be immoral and ineffective, abandoning the Iraqi people to a horrible fate while empowering America’s enemies to overtake a country with which Washington partnered for strategic reasons. Nonetheless, this is precisely what the US is doing in Afghanistan today: forcing the Afghan government into an untenable position while paving a road to victory for the Taliban. Just read Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s recent letter to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Outlining the Biden administration’s vision for achieving peace, Blinken implies that “disunity” among Afghan officials could “sabotage” the process. He then warns the US is considering withdrawing all American forces from Afghanistan by May 1, even if the Taliban continues attacking Afghan forces. “Even with the continuation of financial assistance from the United States to your forces after an American military withdrawal, I am concerned that the security situation will worsen and that the Taliban could make rapid territorial gains,” Blinken writes. “I am making this clear to you so that you understand the urgency of my tone regarding the collective work outlined in this letter.” Blinken puts the onus completely on the Afghan government to make concessions to the Taliban and move the peace process forward so that both sides can share power in Kabul, the Afghan capital. The Taliban can sit back and wage its war against the Afghan government, knowing Washington will pressure Afghanistan’s elected leaders diplomatically and politically. Yes, the Taliban is supposed to do its part by reducing attacks against Afghan forces and civilians, but it’s actually doing the opposite — without facing consequences. Gen. Scott Miller, head of American forces in Afghanistan, recently told Reuters, “Taliban violence is much higher than historical norms.” He was referring to the Taliban’s unusually intense fighting in the winter, which comes before the Islamist insurgents typically increase the violence during their spring offensive. Of course, the US, under both the Trump and Biden administrations, has ignored such violations of the US-Taliban peace deal signed last February. Meanwhile, Blinken’s State Department refuses to say the Afghan government is engaging constructively. One can’t help but wonder which side the Biden administration sees as its partner — the elected Afghan government or the anti-American jihadists trying to destroy that government. To make matters worse, Zalmay Khalilzad, the American special envoy for Afghanistan, has provided the Taliban and the Afghan government a draft of a peace plan which may allow American forces to leave but will create a pre-9/11 situation in Afghanistan in the process. The plan calls for the current government to be replaced by an interim, transitional administration that shares power between Afghan leaders and the Taliban until Afghanistan establishes a new constitution and holds elections. As part of this arrangement, the Biden administration proposes the creation of a 15-member Islamic council, to which the Taliban can appoint seven members. The council will provide “Islamic guidance” and “review all draft laws, decrees, and regulations prior to adoption to ensure compliance with the beliefs and provisions of Islam.” Khalilzad also raises the prospect of suspending Afghanistan’s parliament while the transitional government is in power, with legislative authority transferred to the executive administration. The obvious concerns here are that the Islamic council could become much too powerful and that those in control may never cede power and restore the parliament. Both are entirely possible, especially if the Taliban is allowed a seat at the head of the table in Kabul. Indeed, the Taliban currently controls or is contesting the vast majority of Afghan territory. The insurgency will only expand and strengthen, especially if the Taliban is emboldened by gaining political power despite — or perhaps because of — its military aggression. And if America leaves, then how will Afghan forces stop Taliban fighters without the American military’s critical training and support? The blunt truth is the Taliban seeks the total domination of Afghanistan, which it seeks to turn into an Islamic state similar to what ISIS controlled in Iraq and Syria. The Taliban is supremacist, fundamentalist, and totalitarian. Which is largely why the organization still maintains close ties to al Qaeda. Until the leadership of al Qaeda publicly rescinds its pledge of allegiance to the leader of the Taliban, we must assume that they are allies, collaborating based on shared goals and values. In short, the American plan subverts the Afghan government and gives the Taliban effective control of Afghanistan, which it would turn into an oppressive wasteland. President Biden and others in Washington may be content allowing Afghanistan to devolve into its pre-9/11 state, but the American people should know the consequences. The problem isn’t just that it’ll be tough to stomach the Taliban marching triumphantly through the streets of Kabul and throwing acid in little girls’ faces for trying to go to school. The larger, strategic problem is that Afghanistan will once again become a playground for terrorists. Washington may not care, seeing this as the necessary cost of leaving Afghanistan. Unless of course we leave behind a situation that causes us to return in a few years. Never mind: We wouldn’t want to think of anything that could derail our glorious end to the forever wars. Newt hosts monthly virtual events in which he discusses news of the day and why it matters to you and your community. These Newt Live events are your opportunity to communicate directly with Newt. We hope you will join us next time and let Newt answer your questions and provide his insight on the issues that concern you most. JOIN TODAY to be a part of this special event and receive a BONUS GIFT. 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