Order or wish? That was the first question that arose after reading the tweet in which Donald Trump wrote: “We should have home the small number of brave men and women left in Afghanistan for Christmas!” A few hours after the announcement on the networks, the national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, qualified those words, and referred to a “reduction” to leave the quota at 2,500 mans, which means that the process is progressing faster than expected since the initial plan was to have between 4,000 and 5,000 men by that time.
The message, markedly electorally biased with three weeks to go before the vote in the United States, reached Afghans immediately, and reactions were different. The Government and the Army assured not having any news about a possible advance in the withdrawal of their allied forces. The Taliban called it “a positive step towards the implementation of the Doha agreement“, In the words of its spokesperson Zabiula Mujahid, who issued a statement with the seal of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the model of country that radical Islamists aspire to reinstate in the near future.
Qatar was the place where Washington and the Taliban made peace after 19 years of war. The pact was signed on February 29, and the insurgents promised to negotiate with the Kabul government and not attack foreign forces, in exchange for their total withdrawal and the release of 5,000 prisoners. Seven months later the dialogue between Afghans began, which runs between “An unusual violence”, due to the high number of insurgency attacks against the national security forces in Afghanistan and the large number of casualties among civilians, soldiers, police and Taliban.
The priority for Washington is to get its troops out as soon as possible and close a 19-year war in which they have suffered 2,400 casualties. In February they had 14,000 men and the roadmap marks the summer of 2021 as the final date to complete a withdrawal process that is underway and progressing faster than planned. The Taliban fulfill their part of the agreement and do not attack foreign troops, “but the war continues in Afghanistan,” the US special envoy to the Afghan process, Zalmay Khalilzad, recalled on the Tolo channel.