Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 14, 2020

Leak Says U.S. Deal With The Taliban Will Allow For Permanent Troop Stay. But Is It True?

U.S. President Donald Trump said yesterday that a peace deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan is likely. The U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has been negotiating with a Taliban delegation in Qatar for over a year and a deal during an election year would be a great political price for Trump.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told NATO allies that the U.S. and the Taliban have agreed "in principle" on a "seven-day reduction in violence" in Afghanistan as a test for an upcoming deal:

Seven days would be “sufficient” to test whether the Taliban was serious about moving toward a peace deal, Esper said.

“But in all things, our approach to this process will be conditions-based,” Esper said. “Let me say it again: conditions-based. So it will be a continual evaluative process as we go forward, if we go forward.”

Esper declined to comment on whether the U.S. would cease counterterrorism operations during any period of reduced violence, saying talks were ongoing.

Little is known of what a peace deal would look like.

The Taliban have insisted that all foreign troops have to leave Afghanistan. The U.S. insists to keep a 'counter terrorism force' in the country.

How could these position ever align?

There is also the small issue of the U.S. supported government in Kabul which so far has not taken part in any negotiations. If the U.S. stops fighting the Taliban Kabul would soon be in their hands. All the grifter who got rich by defrauding the occupation forces would lose their income. It is hard to see how the nominal government of Afghanistan could agree to make nice with the Taliban.

But some deal is in the making and Time now claims to have secret annexes of the U.S.-Taliban agreement that might explain what is happening:

The Taliban has agreed to a seven-day “reduction in violence” to show that it’s serious. But, crucially, its leaders will not agree in public to the U.S. demand to keep counterterrorism forces in Afghanistan.

To get past that roadblock, Khalilzad has come up with a rickety workaround. The deal contains secret annexes, according to three people familiar with details of the current draft. The first is an agreement for U.S. counterterrorism forces to stay in the country. The second is a Taliban denouncement of terrorism and violent extremism. The third annex contains a mechanism to monitor whether all sides are honoring the semi-truce while talks between warring Afghan parties proceed, according to two of the sources, and the last addresses how the CIA will operate in future in Taliban-controlled areas.

Details of the secret annexes were provided in writing to TIME by one of the sources, who insisted on anonymity to disclose details of the confidential talks. A U.S. lawmaker and two Afghan officials confirmed that a long-term counterterrorism force numbering 8,600 U.S. troops, down from the current 13,000, is part of the deal. The State Department and Khalilzad’s office declined to comment, as did the CIA. Khalilzad declined to be interviewed for this article. A Taliban official insisted Thursday that the deal requires a full U.S. troop withdrawal and said that talk of secret annexes were just rumors.

If a 8.600 strong U.S. force stays in Afghanistan it will be there for all to see. If the Taliban make peace and the troops stay it will be known to everyone that they have broken their principles and agreed to it. A 'secret' deal makes therefore little sense.

But let us assume for a moment that the Time story is true. What price did the U.S. offer to get such a deal?

The only thing the Taliban would probably see as a sufficient price is the power in Kabul. Could the U.S. hand them the control over the Afghan government? It might be willing to do so because the current Afghan government is a bunch of quarreling clowns and thieves who get little done. The Taliban are probably the only force that could end the government's chronic corruption. Both sides might -in principal - benefit from it.

But such a new 'partnership' between the Taliban and the U.S. would have larger implications. A permanent U.S. force would not be in Afghanistan for 'counterterrorism' but to keep an eye on Pakistan, Iran, China and Central Asia.

The Pakistani military has a long leash control over the Taliban. It is possible that it would agree to some short term U.S. stay. There are some signs that the U.S. is currently doing favors to Pakistan by knocking out Pakistani militants who hide in Afghanistan:

Over the last week, several senior members of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have been killed in Afghanistan. However, it’s not only the Pakistani Taliban that has suffered heavy losses. A senior member of the Baloch Republican Army (BRA), a militant organization known for targeting Pakistan’s interests, was also killed in Iran a few days ago.

The deaths of the Pakistani Taliban and BRA members comes at a time when the United States and the Afghan Taliban are on the cusp of signing a peace agreement in Afghanistan.

The deaths of several anti-Pakistan militant leaders in Afghanistan and Iran are reflective of several previous such developments where Pakistan’s push to assist Washington in Afghanistan was rewarded with an action against groups that Pakistan considers an enemy.

But the elimination of some militants is not a long term strategic price. Pakistan depends economically on its relations with China. It is doubtful that Beijing would react kindly to a Pakistani deal that allows for a permanent U.S. force in Afghanistan. To make a long term deal with the U.S. Pakistan must be able to replace China. It would need U.S. guarantees for a large amount for economic aid over a long period that could replace what is currently coming from China.

Then there is Iran. During the last months Iran has held several talks with Taliban leaders. After the U.S. murder of the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani Iran has launched a campaign to remove all U.S. forces from the Middle East. This includes the forces in Afghanistan. Iran  would not agree to permanent U.S. bases in Afghanistan.

Iran officials do not believe that the U.S. will really make a peace deal with the Taliban.

If a U.S.-Taliban deal includes a permanent U.S. force it would put the Taliban back into the anti-Iranian camp. They U.S. would certainly like that but Iran would certainly make its disagreement known by again supporting potential anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan. The Shia Afghan fighters who fought with Liwa Fatemiyoun under Iranian command in Syria, and who have now returned to Afghanistan, give Iran a potentially serious force. There is also the former 'Northern Alliance' which would again fight against a Taliban government in Kabul. Twenty years ago Iran supported it with weapons and money. It could again do so.

A permanent U.S. force in a Taliban controlled Afghanistan seems to require too many strategic changes to be a viable concept.

My hunch is that the Taliban agreed to allow U.S. troops to stay during some kind of ceasefire and while their upcoming talks with the Afghan government are ongoing. But a permanent Taliban agreement for U.S. troops to stay, which the U.S. will want, is a very unlikely concept.

Did the U.S. envoy Khalilzad make that up to give Trump a short term 'peace deal' and a boost for his re-election?

Posted by b on February 14, 2020 at 17:38 UTC | Permalink


The election is long months away and no ceasefire will last that long in Afghanistan, especially now that Iran seems to be killing CIA there. I expect Trump and the deep state will rely more on the corporate MSM's willingness to keep ignoring and downplaying this quagmire/profit leader.

Posted by: NoOneYouKnow | Feb 14 2020 17:58 utc | 1

Things seem to have taken a bad turn...

Eleven Civilians Killed in US Air Strike in Afghanistan's Nangarhar

Posted by: etc | Feb 14 2020 18:08 utc | 2

IMO, there will be no deal done about Afghanistan that excludes the SCO and CSTO nations. There's no way the Outlaw US Empire can match the economic benefits all those nations--Pakistan and Afghanistan included--would get over a very long time via the Chinese and Russian Eurasian integration plans. IMO, this is all talk aimed at the Outlaw US Empire's domestic audience for the upcoming election. As far as I know, none of the SCO/CSTO nations want NATO to remain in Afghanistan as they rightfully see such forces as there to destabilize the region, which is why they invaded the place. As with every other place its occupied over its history, the Outlaw US Empire's forces will need to be ousted.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 14 2020 18:13 utc | 3

Off the record here..

Can someone give me some good links about Greece financial crises some years ago. Why they appeared?


Posted by: ARN | Feb 14 2020 18:33 utc | 4

- Trump made a campaign promise to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan. A "temporary deal" would give both the Taliban and the Trump administration want they want. Both parties would save face. Both parties would have something to placate their base. Yes, it would help Trump's election campaign.

- The US withdrawing troops from Afghanistan ? I don't see that happening anytime soon. Especially now that Trump is also doling out promises to the Military Industrial CONGRESSIONAL complex. Making it harder for the other "war party" (called Democrats) to achieve a victory in the presidential elections later this year.

- There is another sign the Trump administration is "hell bent" on winning the elections later this year. Former communications director Hope Hicks is moving back to the White House from Fuax News where she used to work up to now.

Posted by: Willy2 | Feb 14 2020 18:35 utc | 5

- I assume that both Russai and iran will increase their support for the "Northren Alliance". No hope for any peace in Aghistan anytime soon.

Posted by: Willy2 | Feb 14 2020 18:37 utc | 6

[B]Trump Plugs Military Spending for Reelection[/b]

"The president is making an aggressive effort to parlay Pentagon funding into political support, writes William D. Hartung in this economic analysis of other — and better — job creators."

Posted by: Willy2 | Feb 14 2020 18:41 utc | 7

The #CarnivalBarkingClown and his troubadours don't have much in the way of a winning record on the foreign policy front. Expectations for a turnaround should be viewed accordingly.

The possibility of fake out of trump's base and others poorly informed is another matter. They hold their own in that category.

Posted by: Bubbles | Feb 14 2020 18:41 utc | 8

All American military personnel need to evacuate from anywhere on this planet where they happen to be unwanted as quickly as they possibly can. 😊

Posted by: Joshua | Feb 14 2020 18:44 utc | 9

US Presidents love peace so much!

War is peace!

Freedom is slavery!


<> <> <> <> <>

The "America First" lie as seen via Trump's "peace initiatives":

  • Seizing Venezuelan State assets and supporting a coup

  • Refusing to follow-thru on Korean Peace Agreement

  • Missile attacks on Syria based on false flags + seizing their oil fields
  • Assassination of Soleimani
  • Continuing support for the Saudi war on Yemen
  • Cold War and arms race with Russia
  • Militarizing space
  • Thumbing his nose at UN resolutions regarding Israel-Palestine
  • Bolivian coup
  • Jailing Journalists and whistle-blowers (Assange, Manning)
  • Faux-peace to justify continued presence in Afghanistan
  • Weaponized trade war:

    • Crushing sanctions on Iran
    • Demands to hault Nordstream II
    • Demands to not use Chinese technology

  • Incessant propaganda to support militarism and belligerance


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 14 2020 18:51 utc | 10

- I think the afghan government in Kabul (a.k.a. "the mayor of Kabul") will be betrayed by the US. Instead of bribing the mayor of Kabul the US simply will switch side to the Taliban and start bribing the Taliban.

- There could be complicating factor. Tensions are rising between Pakistan & India over the annexation of Kashmir. That will complicate matters. India & Pakistan are seen by the US as a counterforce against China. Now China could starting the game of "Divide & conquer".

Posted by: Willy2 | Feb 14 2020 18:54 utc | 11

In the last few days we have seen these stories

- Taliban agrees to surrender to US even though Taliban is winning.
- Iraq just 40 days after killing of Soleimani opens it's arms to permanent NATO occupation.
- GCC states agree to non aggression deal with Israel
- Turkey abandoning Russia partnership and getting back together with US/NATO.

Any one of these strains credulity at best. To see all of them in a couple of days tells me all of this is part of a massive disinformation campaign.

Posted by: BraveNewWorld | Feb 14 2020 19:00 utc | 12

There is also the possibility that this is for domestic consumption
This could be for leading up to the moment when the Pentagon claims that they said we could stand but then they reneged on their promise look how bad they are let’s continue to bomb them.
8600 troops plus “contractors” it’s not even close to being with drawl more like a force reduction. They certainly would come in handy for sabotaging the silk roads

Posted by: Chevrus | Feb 14 2020 19:02 utc | 13

My apologies for the voice to text translation I’m not a robot I just try to sound like one

Posted by: Chevrus | Feb 14 2020 19:03 utc | 14

ARN @4--

I suggest you go to Dr. Hudson's website, click on the search icon, click on the "Search term box", and enter the phrase Greek crisis to get numerous articles and interviews given by Hudson on the subject.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 14 2020 19:05 utc | 15

Reply to ARN post no. 4: (off topic)

You will find good information on the Greek "debt" on The Audit (film) if you have the patience to watch. Eric Toussaint of was an advisor to the Syrzia government and the Parliament, was the behind the preliminary report of the so fraudulent dept, before Tsipras made himself the most hated and despised person in the history of the country. He has a good review of Varufakis' Adults in the Room, as well. Very depressing but enlightening.

Posted by: Ulrich von Kafkanien | Feb 14 2020 19:09 utc | 16

Willy2 @6--

I don't see any grounds for either Russia or Iran to work with the terrorist Northern Alliance, or whatever it's calling itself these days. Both Russia and Iran have come to the realization that like it or not the Taliban have a great deal of political clout with a sizable plurality of Afghans, are indigenous Afghans, and are there to stay, which is why they've been negotiating with them. Plus, the Taliban, Russia, Iran, SCO, and CSTO want the NATO presence to end, which is a shared strategic interest that binds them together. Add this to what I wrote @3 above.

Given the reality and joint interests of the players--particularly with the importation of Daesh by the Outlaw US Empire--I see them providing the Taliban with the wherewithal to oust NATO as they don't need to control the entire country to make that happen.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 14 2020 19:21 utc | 17

A User uncle tungsten

No, the comments you linked to were not the ones I was referring to in yesterday's comments. They werw written in broken English. The second one was an accusation directed at b. I imagine b deemed them not factual and expunged them. I did not believe the second comment. It's all under the bridge.

Sorry for the late reply.

Posted by: Craig | Feb 14 2020 19:26 utc | 18

Quite likely Trump wants to hold a section of strategic territory in Afghanistan, similar to pulling back from the Turk border in Syria, but doubling down on the Syria Iraq border. The strategic territory in Afghanistan he wants to hold most likely concerns Iran.
Afghan government have been completely out of US Taliban negotiations so quite likely Trump is trying to do a deal that dumps Afghan government and puts US bases in Taliban territory along the Iran border.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Feb 14 2020 19:28 utc | 19

Water under the bridge.

Posted by: Craig | Feb 14 2020 19:29 utc | 20

It will probably fall apart because Pakistan will play the spoiler. They are no longer on Team America, and also they are aligned with the anti-Trump crowd (Clintons) in America, remember Debbie Wasserman Schwartz and her Pakistan scandal? Guarantee they want to mess up any Afghan deal Trump tries to make.

BTW here is a new great article on Tulsi and how and why she is despised by so many Tulsi Gabbard is The Steely Dan of Politics or: Perfection Isn’t For Everyone

Posted by: Kali | Feb 14 2020 19:38 utc | 21

another day, another bullshit scenario from the usa... it's endless... the usa would like to be in afgan for forever, and they just need to get an agreement with the ''supposed terrrorists'' to make sure all is good.. it's a good thing i don't have a day job as a steneographer for the empire.. how is it going with the poppy harvests? are they raking in enough money for the cia, or do they need to ramp that up some more? maybe china is cutting into the action with all the fentanyol and demand is going down? i agree with peter au - usa is serving the masters in tel aviv orders to continue with the ramp up to war on iran.. as if iran is going to sit idly by... it must be tough having to feed and care for a pit bull in a far away country, but at least it's in the open how the usa is the terrorist here.. that they are unwilling to leave afgan after about 20 years tells one all they need to know... i am supposed to get worked up over another friggin' american gong show election? give me a break..

Posted by: james | Feb 14 2020 19:42 utc | 22

ot - kali - tulsi needs more then the same person writing for her all the time... she is going nowhere because she actually has some redeeming qualities.. that is not allowed in the usa political scene..

Posted by: james | Feb 14 2020 19:45 utc | 23

The Department of Justice (DOJ) will no longer pursue criminal charges against former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe

Have long hoped that McCabe would become the next John Wesley Dean III of Watergate infamy.

McCabe would work a deal with John Durham and give up what he knows about Russiagate.
Does this news tell us that it has happened, or is it another symptom of Washington's Epstein-Barr disease?

We are all still waiting for John Durham to announce indictments...or not.

Posted by: librul | Feb 14 2020 19:47 utc | 24

Anyone seen "Ayatollah Mike"?

Posted by: NOBTS | Feb 14 2020 19:47 utc | 25

accountability is a 4 letter word in the usa..

Posted by: james | Feb 14 2020 19:48 utc | 26

Do we know who the Taliban are these days? A Pathan grouping or some kind of alliance? Is there a leader? Who are the Yanks talking to?

Posted by: Montreal | Feb 14 2020 19:50 utc | 27

As post 16: (off topic)

Sorry for misspelling Varoufakis.
In order to understand money and debt I recommend Web of Debt by Ellen Brown and in the German language Das Neues Geld by Christoph Pfluger.
Thank you b for tolerating some off topics. These books highlights how banks create money out of thin air by debt issuance, id est the banks are lending out money the banks don't have, by making money of the debtor's promise to pay. Fraudulent, to say the least.

Posted by: Ulrich von Kafkanien | Feb 14 2020 19:56 utc | 28

secret annexes... according to three people familiar with details

You guys Please! We haven't heard from the ghost of L. Ron Hubbard! And where's Elvis? Doesn't Shirley MacLaine have anything to say?

Posted by: Just Me | Feb 14 2020 20:14 utc | 29

Craig #18

Water under the bridge? There are trolls under there too and they dont like water cause it flushes them out.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 14 2020 20:19 utc | 30

ARN @ 4:

There is a film made by Kitidi and Hatzistefanou in 2011 called "Debtocracy" which may still be available on YouTube. The documentary delves into the roots, some going as far back as WW2, and possibly right back to when Greece first became independent and was forced by Britain and Prussia to accept monarchy instead of a republican form of government in the 1830s, of the Greek financial crisis and Greece's complicated and masochistic relationship with Germany, of which the arms sale scandal involving the German company Siemens is an example.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 14 2020 20:29 utc | 31

Should it be presumed the "counter-terrorism force" will be located in Helmand next to the poppy fields?

Posted by: jayc | Feb 14 2020 20:32 utc | 32

@Karlof1 (#17):

- Russia already supported the Northern Alliance in the 1990s.

Posted by: Willy2 | Feb 14 2020 20:46 utc | 33

- There is however something that is undermining (financially) the financial strength of the US Empire. The US Trade Deficit is shrinking while at the same time the US Budget Deficit is growing.

Posted by: Willy2 | Feb 14 2020 20:49 utc | 34

Did’nt the taliban just drop a Boeing out of the sky with a missile ? Killing the head of the CIA ? Or did I dream that !
Now we are told the USA are dating the Taliban.
Will the last sane person on the planet please close the door on the way out.

Posted by: mark2 | Feb 14 2020 20:49 utc | 35

The first purpose of the US invasion in 2001 was not to serve the Israeli agenda,but to block any pipeline which could directly link China with the Iranian oil-field.
In 2001, a few months before 9/11, US agreed to such pipeline if they controlled it. Unocal made this offer to the talibans. They refused it. Soon after, 9/11 happened and Afghanistan got bombed and invaded.

US will never leave Afghanistan, but in two cases:
- the US find someone else they can trust to continue blocking China. Very low probability.
- the empire is crumbling. Almost unavoidable outcome, but it's hard to predict the timing.

Posted by: Parisian Guy | Feb 14 2020 21:22 utc | 36

If Ayatollah Mike has not been seen, then perhaps the stories of his demise are true?? Shouldn't the American people be allowed an opportunity to mourn their military heroes as the Iranian people do theirs? Surely millions are just waiting for the word, to pour into the streets all over the Land of the Free. If D'Andrea is not equivalent to Soleimani in the hearts of his countrymen, who could be? David Petraeus?

Posted by: NOBTS | Feb 14 2020 21:25 utc | 37

karlof1 @ 3 said;". As with every other place its occupied over its history, the Outlaw US Empire's forces will need to be ousted." YEP!!

And don't look for that to happen any day soon. As long as the dollar reins supreme, the corporate empire can coerce any nation into submission.

Corporate global hegemony is the goal, and competition means your destruction by any means necessary..

Posted by: ben | Feb 14 2020 21:26 utc | 38

@Karlof1 #15 & @jen #31


Posted by: ARN | Feb 14 2020 21:52 utc | 39

In other semi-related news, from a Twitter feed I follow:

Dolkun Isa, President of US govt-funded @UyghurCongress, attended event organized by British Israeli lobby group @BoardofDeputies and met with ultra-Zionist group Bnei Akiva, whose leader once called for Israeli army to "take 300 Palestinian foreskins"

Dan Cohen:
Far-right Zionist groups and US government-funded Uighur organizations are establishing ties to ramp up the Cold War with China.

Posted by: Ghost_of_Banned | Feb 14 2020 22:21 utc | 40

Add'n: How nice of these far right Zionists to consider the (alleged) plight of the Chinese Uighers while they concurrently manage the largest, longest-running open-air concentration camps in the world.

Posted by: Ghost_of_Banned | Feb 14 2020 22:23 utc | 41

i Just cannot see the need for nation states. they give rise to warrior leaders.. its in the nature of the structure of the nation state.
Practically every American wants the US Troops home, but no member of the USA seems to want to bring home the troops.

Posted by: snake | Feb 14 2020 22:43 utc | 42

US deal with the Taliban - you can have Kabul, but we're keeping the opium.

Posted by: Jay | Feb 14 2020 22:55 utc | 43 over at the Duran argues the idea that the Doha talks will be successful only in perpetuating divisions;

Local, commander to commander arrangements are how Afghanistan has historically worked through its problems. The famous commander from the Panshir Valley, Ahmad Shah Massoud was very effective this way. An American Army officer, Maj. Jim Gant also made impressive gains with this approach as well. It has long been known that a deal over a pot of tea can be very much more effective than a midnight raid. It can be expected that entrenched military and diplomatic leadership will oppose and actively sabotage this kind of effort as they have in the past. For a variety of reasons, lower level liaison and deal making, cuts them out of making an Afghan solution. Maj. Gant’s career was ended primarily for this reason. So the old flag officer command and super grade civil service primacy would have to be ended. This is absolutely necessary to do as super grades and flag officers have collectively demonstrated over the last 19 years an unwillingness or inability to come up with an end state for America’s longest war.

The story provides some good background.

Posted by: DeQuincey | Feb 14 2020 23:43 utc | 44

Posted by: ARN | Feb 14 2020 18:33 utc | 4

Yanis Varoufakis, Greek finance minister during the crisis, has multiple videos on Youtube describing the inside baseball of the crisis: a story that has not been told in the MSM, and amusing if nothing else.

Posted by: carl | Feb 15 2020 0:04 utc | 45

Permanent troop stay?? As in FOREVER?!? As in 75 years in Germany and Japan, 65 years in Korea kind of permanent?

Posted by: Carson | Feb 15 2020 0:42 utc | 46

Not to worry. If the Jews don't throw a bomb the CIA will.

Posted by: Joetv | Feb 15 2020 0:56 utc | 47

No one has mentioned the Opium. The CIA has gotten used to the billions, all off the books, that trade produces. No peace there until the Afghans/Taliban force the US out.

Posted by: Joetv | Feb 15 2020 1:11 utc | 48

i doubt the US will peacefully walk away from all that lithium and especially all the heroin. but who knows. eventually the occupation and its private sector bills will be untenable when compounded with austerity back home.

maybe the taliban will be saudi lite. the same hatred for iran and middle ages behavior but with lithium and dope instead of oil.

Posted by: the pair | Feb 15 2020 1:35 utc | 49

Trump is waiting for a telephone call from Taleban leader to make a fantastic deal with him, to Make Afghanistan Great Again (MAGA).
Who is Taleban leader?
Khalilzad is trying and negotiating for so many years to find the leader of Taliban, that is the main objective of negotiation, otherwise MAGA is ready, off the shelf availabe.

Posted by: Arata | Feb 15 2020 1:51 utc | 50

Poppies can grow pretty much anywhere, amerika has control of so many deliberately (thanks to amerika) failing states that if O supplies are critical there are all sorts of places they can shift poppy growing and the concomitant huge increase in local junkies to. But really growing O in 2020 doesn't make a heap of sense when the option of manufacturing fentanyl exists. That can be done quieter & more efficiently without the risk of anyone spotting hectares of poppy field from above with drones or satellites.

I actually don't think it is anything other than the usual - some good ole boys are making big money outta the Afghan conflict and they pay good money to make sure everything stays the way it is.

However much orangey wanted to shut down Oblamblam's healthcare mess, which was a lot more than he wanted to get amerikan troops outta Afghanistan, he couldn't because too many rethug pols had been paid off by insurance companies who had gotten attached to the fat subsidies the Oblamblam plan pays them.
The types who are copping the bucks outta Afghanistan will be buying every pol in DC and there is SFA the drongo can do about it.
Of course the same applies to the dems should one of their wind-up dolls win prez 2020, they won't be able to end any occupations either cos the house will have been paid off majorly.
Eventually this whole crooked mess is gonna implode and when it does, bases will close down around the planet, but we aren't quite there yet.

Posted by: A User | Feb 15 2020 3:41 utc | 51

Very cute the Yanquis are still trying to make agreements. Very naïve of the Taliban to expect the Yanquis of being capable of holding themselves accountable to their word.

Posted by: Jezabeel | Feb 15 2020 5:56 utc | 52

Lies. Every word of it. The US gov. is incapable of uttering a word of truth not distorted in some way to achieve political aims.

In addition, the US has never been capable of communicating with the Taliban in a way which provides them a clear understanding of what the Taliban agreed to. They impose their own imaginary version of what they believe the Taliban want.

Posted by: Arch | Feb 15 2020 6:39 utc | 53

To get past that roadblock, Khalilzad has come up with a rickety workaround. The deal contains secret annexes

Yea, and the world is flat!

US agrees with Taliban to withdraw all US troops, but makes secret annex with Kabul government to keep half the troops there instead. Being offered (allegedly) the role of government in Kabul, the Taliban sign the deal with the US, but make secret annex deal with Russia + China + Iran under which the Taliban - as then officially recognised Afghan government - officially invite Russia + China + Iran to provide anti-terrorism military force to evict the US. Syria operation mark 2. Check mate.

Seriously, though, Taliban agreeing to permanent US presence in their country - when they are winning - is like claiming President Assad used chemical weapons in Douma while shipping the terrorists in Douma off to Idlib!

Posted by: BM | Feb 15 2020 7:37 utc | 54

"But in all things, our approach to this process will be conditions-based,” Esper said.

US foreign policy looks like the brainchild of people with a serious medical condition.

The inability to learn from the past points to Korsakoff syndrome. The US has been drunk on its own power for too long and they want to beat the hangover by continuing drinking.

When the Taliban is sane in comparison, American exceptionalism is beyond repair.

Posted by: Symen Danziger | Feb 15 2020 8:49 utc | 55

Posted by: Symen Danziger | Feb 15 2020 8:49 utc | 54

"The US has been drunk on its own power for too long and they want to beat the hangover by continuing drinking."

And to extend that metaphor, they've long since run out of the good booze or anything even of middling quality but are bingeing on straight Everclear and wood alcohol.

Posted by: Russ | Feb 15 2020 8:56 utc | 56

DeQuincey @43

I had posted a link to that article in the last open thread, but since it's more relevant here I was going to re-post it if no one did. Thanks for doing that. I agree it is a very thorough, well written, and thought provoking article that I would highly recommend everyone read.

Posted by: J Swift | Feb 15 2020 9:10 utc | 57

The US is exploiting the anti Shiite stance of the Taliban. This is preparation for war against Iran using Afghanistan. A week or two ago the US declared the Shiite minority organizations in Afghanistan "terrorist organizations". I don't think the government in Kabul is fond of this development. This is why they were left out. The US realized the Taliban are much more important for their overall goals in the region. It just shows what the US are really about. I wonder what Pakistan is thinking right now. - In that way, I am almost rooting for second Trump term. The mask has come off the US but the experience needs to deepen so the world wakes up and starts putting a decisive foot down. How the world can achieve that - I don't know at this point as the US is a dominating economic and ABC power and doesn't and won't hesitate to utilize that position. The world needs to switch to a different currency. The Euro is an option and that's why the US try to destroy the EU. They always tried. Just that Trump has no qualms being open about it. Enough of the pink dreams of transatlantic partnership and all the rest of it. How to contain the USA, I don't know. - I recommend reading the story of Eusa and the Addom (Riddley Walker).

Posted by: É Mo Scél | Feb 15 2020 9:16 utc | 58

The pair @48 This is extremely promising in term of Lithium. Time to seriously "pacify" the pashtuns and then civilized the optionals survivors. Looks like Avatar of James cameron, let's just change the end with the Tr(i)ump(ph) of democratic value$.

Action plan :

A) Withdraw US troops fast, NGO & reporters (specially those lasts).
B) Brings in Blackwaters personnels, specialized in "civilization" of non-cooperatives indigenes.
C) Auction the mining deposits. (Auction preferable location is a Casino at Las vegas but do NOT wiretap the bedrooms with Chinese gears. These yellow faces are dishonest and untrustworthy)
D) Case auctions goes wrong to china, let's bring in UNESCO and declare these mountains "Sacred ancestral burial site" and locks the sites until next auction.

Posted by: murgen23 | Feb 15 2020 10:01 utc | 59

My fellow readers of the MoA: do you also wonder, scratch your heads just like me: what the real hell is behind this move of the empire on Afghanistan?
Because if history doesnt deceive us we don t remember in ages when those bastards have aimed and tried in good faith, politically realistic and -with mutual concessions - win win deal. Things that their geopolitical competitors do every every other week.

Posted by: augusto | Feb 15 2020 11:53 utc | 60

more worthless farting noises.. US just killed another dozen afghan civilians.. so much for the terrorist taliban reducing violence.

Posted by: Igor Bundy | Feb 15 2020 12:42 utc | 61

"...All the grifter who got rich by defrauding the occupation forces would lose their income. It is hard to see how the nominal government of Afghanistan could agree to make nice with the Taliban..."

The corrupt, grifter nominal government will be swinging from Kabul lamp posts ten minutes after the Taliban return to the city. That is, the unfortunate mid- and lower-level ones the U.S. State Department has not airlifted to their new suburban life somewhere outside of Arlington, WV.

The U.S. can make all the secret agreements with the current Kabul government that it wants. The problem is getting the Taliban to recognize those a year from now when the current Kabul government criminals are either in their graves, rotting in a Taliban prison or have fled to permanent exile the U.S. The Taliban won't honor anything of the sort, but saying they will (in a clever NYT 'leak') kind of takes the sting out of the humiliating U.S. failure and defeat in Afghanistan. At least in the D.C. cocktail circles. We can scurry away with our chests puffed out and smiles on our faces. Nobody messes with Team U.S.A.

"...the current Afghan government is a bunch of quarreling clowns and thieves who get little done."

YES! Same in America. I know exactly how the Afghans feel.

[Esper] “But in all things, our approach to this process will be conditions-based,” Esper said. “Let me say it again: conditions-based. So it will be a continual evaluative process as we go forward, if we go forward.”

Hmmm... sounds familiar. Better send the choppers to Kabul NOW to evacuate the embassy staff from the roof - it's over.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Feb 15 2020 13:35 utc | 62

As JoeTV and the pair point out, the Afghanistan drug production is a multi-$billion income stream for the CIA that allows them to finance death squads "off-budget". Loss of this income stream would have a significant impact on the empire's covert operations worldwide.

While A User @50 is certainly correct that the CIA's drug production could be done in a number of locations where the empire has severely impaired organized civil society - Libya, for instance - it is important to consider that this drug production represents an income stream. Americans tend to live paycheck-to-paycheck regardless of the size of that paycheck, and the CIA operates the same way. Interrupt that stream and head-chopping and torture operations shut down around the globe. You cannot start up industrial-sized poppy plantations overnight. Furthermore, the CIA isn't really geared towards being creative or productive, particularly not in agriculture. They outsource that. While the CIA can take over an existing operation like the organized crime gang that they are, and then use their extensive tariff-free international logistics networks to grow that operation, they are not really equipped to build a new criminal operation from scratch.

Income streams and supply chains... the CIA is constrained by these economic realities just like legitimate enterprises are. Because of this they will not allow their Afghani cash cow to escape their control without a significant fight.

Posted by: William Gruff | Feb 15 2020 14:03 utc | 63

Afghanistan is a place, not a country. I may not see this in my lifetime (I'm 70) but believe what's going to happen is depicted in Elizabeth Thompson's painting Remnants of an Army. It shows what happened to the Brits in mid-19th century. Same is in store for any forces trying to occupy Afghanistan. It's gonna be a long walk.

Posted by: Vic | Feb 15 2020 14:05 utc | 64


I doubt it will be like "Death of an Army." In any case, that painting and the vague historical memories of the First Afghan War misrepresent what actually happened. Yes, British-led forces in Afghanistan in the early 1840s did disintegrate, but there was less than a brigade's worth of actual British troops. It was a disaster but only a minor disaster.

No Dien Bien Phu in Afghanistan, but maybe helicopters taking off with remaining US personnel at some point.

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Feb 15 2020 14:30 utc | 65

But let us assume for a moment that the Time story is true. What price did the U.S. offer to get such a deal?

The only thing the Taliban would probably see as a sufficient price is the power in Kabul. Could the U.S. hand them the control over the Afghan government?

Yes, it's possible if you think of the larger US strategy for region attempting to use the Uighurs against China and China's alleged oppression of them to rally anti-Chinese support among the other Turkic peoples--Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Turkmen and especially Uzbeks--and Muslims. It might also be part of trying to wean Pakistan away from China. Afganistan, with the proper infrastructure north of the Hindu Kush could be a high-speed connector between China and Iran, and an anti-China, pro-Uighur government in Kabul might be a clandestine goal of the DC mind.

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Feb 15 2020 14:37 utc | 66

Winston Churchill talked of the "Talibs." I'm sure a hundred years from now they'll still be around.

Posted by: Morongobill | Feb 15 2020 15:08 utc | 67

Anyone else notice that Pepe Escobar is a blatant plagiarizer?

He is constantly stealing the ideas of this blog, Alistair C, and MK Bhadrakumar.

Posted by: John | Feb 15 2020 15:25 utc | 68

To James @ 23.
ot - kali - tulsi needs to ask the America people for their help.. she needs to sign enforceable agreements to do if elected, what
she says or promises she will do during her campaign <== if she gets elected. Tulsi is going nowhere because no one believes her. <== .
Obama and Trump avoided the skirt but each traversed the same route.. one promised Change the Other Promised to Make America great Again, both used their elected Governor positions to further degrade America.

To William Gruff @ 63 transferring the multi-$billion Afghanistan drug business to the Taliban may explain the massive budget given by congress to the mobsters in charge.

Posted by: snake | Feb 15 2020 15:28 utc | 69

The USA is not agreement capable. This is the only thing worth saying about the NYTs nonsense.

Posted by: Goldhoarder | Feb 15 2020 15:28 utc | 70

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 14 2020 18:13 utc | 3

you are over the target i believe, it seems to me to that this is just ment for internal murcan propaganda b4 the (s)election.

(To all, please dont partake in their consent factory(elections)!! if you vote you are consenting to their crimes and just as guilty!)

Posted by: Per/Norway | Feb 15 2020 15:42 utc | 71

@john 68

It seems that you have not read truely and understood non of them

Posted by: Arata | Feb 15 2020 15:53 utc | 72

@ARN | 4
I remember reading a piece by a Greek economist at the time who drew direct links between corruption in the military (French and German arms contracts for loans to finance the contracts!) with the subsequent crisis. If I can find the article I shall link it. For now, the below gives you an idea of the relationship.

Posted by: Egor68500 | Feb 15 2020 16:05 utc | 73

The American Empire never gives up and pulls out unless American political unrest threatens, like the war on Vietnam. It's all a profitable racket, as this short documentary explains: "The Empire's Fake War on Terror"

Posted by: Carlton Meyer | Feb 15 2020 16:44 utc | 74

Turkey Vows to Drive Syrian Army Out of Idlib Unless It Leaves Province by End of February


I know this is not quite on-topic, but it seemed to me to be very important.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Feb 15 2020 16:49 utc | 75

The silliest aspect of this story is that when one is negotiating ANYTHING, there will be nothing to talk about until the negotiations are COMPLETE/ CONCLUDED.
But the Yankees are talking about it anyway, despite the fact that there's nothing worth saying; or listening to...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 15 2020 16:56 utc | 76

The US has offered the Taliban 15% of the net off annual heroin sales in exchange for a permanent base on the Iranian border.

Posted by: Perimetr | Feb 15 2020 17:49 utc | 77

The alleged compromise of allowing several thousand US troops for alleged 'counter-terrorism's is simply not credible.

More than likely it allows thew CIA/NSA to keep funneling heroin to support their black budgets.

Posted by: Ant. | Feb 15 2020 18:12 utc | 78

I'm supposing most people are not aware that the Taliban declared a Fatwa against poppy production?

That was a while ago...

Posted by: Ant. | Feb 15 2020 18:27 utc | 79

I am pretty sure that the Taliban, just like the Russians and the Iranians, know that the Outlaw Empire is Non-Agreement Capable.

Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Feb 15 2020 18:29 utc | 80

Yet another makes a claim

Are we dealing with leaders of the nation state system? or corrupted private parties?

Posted by: snake | Feb 15 2020 18:31 utc | 81

Of course. The next Mrikan regime has no care about previous agreements. That is the variability of arrogant US governments, it's always to subject to hysterical domestic media. Sadly. it has little relevance to sensible facts. Believe bullshit. Justify the next enormous multi-tens-of billion aircraft carrier that don't work, but hey, we'll spend another few billions to make them work with these rubbish F-35's.

Because, of course, golly, they are so much better than Sukhoi 57's?

As a famous Australian movie said, "Tell them they are dreaming."

Posted by: Ant. | Feb 15 2020 18:57 utc | 82

@ 44 DeQuincey... and J swift... thanks for that article.. it is very informative and others would benefit from reading it..

here it is again..

Posted by: james | Feb 15 2020 18:59 utc | 83

#83 The article you quote is somewhat incoherent.

The current Afghah government is little more than a set of amazingly corrupt warlords, but that is not surprising given that whom has set them up.

Posted by: Ant. | Feb 15 2020 19:22 utc | 84

re William Gruff | Feb 15 2020 14:03 utc | 63
Sorry but to me your talk of supply chains etc feels more like a reach than a rationale, because the obvious move would be to phase one O source out because it is no longer viable, while brining another source (say Libya) online.

Although I suspect one of the newer africa,com dysfunctional hosts in sub-Saharan Africa would be a better bet, but it still avoids the big one, which is that a well equipped industrial lab with 10 or 12 capable technicians could turn out an equivalent amount of fentanyl as the entire Afghan O-->Morphine-->Heroin output for a year in the space of just a few months.

No more hassles with growers & middlemen either. If the CIA is still underwriting their scams, rorts, murders etc with drug sales, fentanyl would be the logical choice.
We already know that most of the hammer in amerika and increasingly in Europe now too is basically fentanyl with a little raw morphine to create the prickly feeling that heroin from Mexico, Iran & Afghanistan was known for.
Maybe even the relatively small amount of heroin which still comes out of South East Asia is largely fentanyl because that is what junkies are saying I dunno, certainly Burma and Cambodia have more seizures of crystal meth than heroin now, which suggests 'making it in a lab' is considered to be less drama.

There is no doubt that senior amerikan & afghan military & political figures have been coining it out of the heroin trade in Afghanistan, some of them wouldn't be able to source the tonnes of reagents & thousands of litres of solvents to churn out fentanyl or meth, but the cia would, they would go to the same dodgy government sources which Mexicans and South East Asians use.

Growing O when there are better, quicker & lot more profitable alternatives, doesn't seem like the cia.

Posted by: A User | Feb 16 2020 11:06 utc | 85

"...a well equipped industrial lab with 10 or 12 capable technicians could turn out an equivalent amount of fentanyl as the entire Afghan O..." --A User @85

Would that be Boeing's idea of "capable" or Huawei's? You know there is a reason that legit fentanyl production was outsourced to China.

"...they would go to the same dodgy government sources which Mexicans and South East Asians use..."

It is odd that you do not realize that those "Mexicans and South East Asians" that you speak of are these days subsidiaries of the CIA. They actually have been for many decades, with a few "independent" drug lords holding out until the early days of this century. The CIA today controls the international illicit drug trade... all of it, for all intents and purposes.

You can get (sorta) the same high off of cheap crack that you can off of expensive cocaine, yet cocaine remains lucrative (many scores of $billions) in international trade. A Saudi businessman/royal can get the same (sorta) orgasms from raping a 10 year old Filipina as he can from raping a 10 year old Ukrainian, yet the Ukrainian girl still fetches an order of magnitude higher profit.

The CIA is all about business, and this is business.

Posted by: William Gruff | Feb 16 2020 18:24 utc | 86

To: A User @85 (addendum)

When you settle down for the evening to sip some hooch, it is some rotgut in a mason jar that the guy down the road with three teeth distilled in an old water heater or is it some fine Irish single malt? Which would you pay more for and why when they both equally increase the permeability of your neurons' cell membranes?

You can get straight ethanol for about $0.50/gal, so why would anyone pay orders of magnitude more than that to get it with a bit of peat and charcoal in it?

Heroin makes the CIA scores of $billions. It doesn't matter that there are cheaper alternatives.

Posted by: William Gruff | Feb 16 2020 18:34 utc | 87

with heroin, you will still be living - so long as you aren't forced to steal to support the habit.. with fentanyl or crack - you are going to be way more messed up and probably dead... my comment @22 " how is it going with the poppy harvests? are they raking in enough money for the cia, or do they need to ramp that up some more? maybe china is cutting into the action with all the fentanyol and demand is going down?" heroin is either a rich persons drug, or it is being used by a person not long for this world..

Posted by: james | Feb 16 2020 21:01 utc | 88

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