Located in Kabul, Afghanistan, CAPS is an independent, research centre that strives to conduct action-oriented research which will influence policy-makers. It works diligently towards building local capacity to produce conflict and threat assessments that will influence the safety and security of the people serving the governments, and international aid organizations.
Feb 20, 2019
Afghans fear Trump team is about to sell them out
Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN)Kabul is a city on edge. Twenty-foot-high concrete blast walls surround the "Green Zone," sheltering the US embassy and key Afghan government buildings.
It is the one of the largest American embassies in the world, yet the US officials working there rarely leave the Green Zone, and if they do, it is by helicopter.
By contrast, in December the Iraqi government began taking down the walls around the Green Zone in Baghdad because the security situation has markedly improved there.
Several years ago, westerners could live and work in Kabul with little cause for fear, and there was even a bustling restaurant scene. That sense of security has gone now because of the Taliban campaign of bombings in the capital and their targeted kidnappings of foreigners. That has helped to contribute to a sharp drop in foreign direct investment in Afghanistan in recent years, according to World Bank data.
The Taliban are at their strongest since their regime fell in the months after the 9/11 attacks. According to a US government assessment released last month, the Afghan government controls around two-thirds of the population and the Taliban 10%. The rest of the population is contested between the government and the Taliban.
ISIS and al Qaeda both now have footholds in Afghanistan.
That is the backdrop for the American talks with the Taliban which began in earnest in July.
These talks are directly between the US and the Taliban, long a key demand of the Taliban. They revile the Afghan government as a puppet of the United States and have called for the removal of all American troops. There are presently some 14,000 US military personnel in the country.
Seven months after the talks began between the US and the Taliban, the Afghan government remains excluded from them despite the fact that their outcome could deeply affect the Afghan people that it represents.
So, Afghans are asking: Are the US-Taliban talks a prelude to peace, or a betrayal of a US ally in which the terms of their surrender to the Taliban are being discussed without them?
The veteran American diplomat, Ryan Crocker, certainly thinks it's the latter. Under the self-explanatory headline, "I was ambassador to Afghanistan. This deal is a surrender," Crocker, in the Washington Post, compared the negotiations with the Taliban "to the Paris peace talks during the Vietnam War. Then, as now, it was clear that by going to the table we were surrendering; we were just negotiating the terms of our surrender."
The Paris peace deal was followed by the eventual collapse of the South Vietnamese government, which had been America's ally, and to the unification of the country under North Vietnam's communist leader, Ho Chi Minh.
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