The details are still sketchy, and the deal is far from done, but it appears that the U.S. is on the edge of reaching an honorable deal to get out of Afghanistan. Good. That is, peace with honor is good, although finding a way out of a no-win war is good enough.
As the New York Post reports, “The U.S. has reached what an official called ‘a reduction of violence agreement’ with the Taliban that could lead to an American troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, a senior administration official said Friday.”
This news comes from a security conference in Germany attended by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, so the “senior administration official” is surely one of those two. Which is to say, it’s a high source.
If the deal comes to pass, it will be the fulfillment of a pledge that Donald Trump made during the 2016 campaign, when he railed against “endless wars.” And of course, the Afghanistan conflict, having begun in 2001, certainly qualifies as an “endless war.” Eighteen years later, we’re still there, still losing lives—just on February 10, President Trump had the solemn duty of paying his respects to two more of the fallen—and the U.S. still has nothing good to show for the effort.
Indeed, a headline in Reason magazine captured the nothingness of the results: “America Has Given Up Trying To Define Success in Afghanistan.” As the inspector general for Afghanistan, John Sopko, told Congress on February 11, “Most of the [indicators] of measuring success are now classified, or we don’t collect it. So I can’t tell you, publicly, how well a job we’r