Terrorists by definition are incapable of a political settlement
The strategy to inch toward victory in Afghanistan should begin with a simple mantra: First, do no negotiations with terrorists.
Yet floating a pie-in-the-sky peace deal with the Taliban kept compromising the Obama administration’s position on Afghanistan and the entire war on terror, and now the Trump administration risks falling into the same trap.
“Perhaps,” President Trump said when unveiling this White House’s strategy, “it will be possible to have a political settlement that includes elements of the Taliban in Afghanistan.”
The terror group that President Obama declined to designate a terror group has signaled over and over again to Mr. Trump that they want to play ball. And it should be America that is on the offensive against all terrorism in Afghanistan — not just the Islamic State, or ISIS — especially as Taliban alliances and operations grow in scope and scale.
Those ops include the Taliban suicide bombing earlier this month that killed two U.S. soldiers. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the July death of a U.S. soldier in a counterterrorism operation. They also claimed a June attack in which a Taliban member who joined the military killed three U.S. service members.
They are emboldened, enjoy long-term relationships with terrorist kin, and have been publicly needling Mr. Trump since Election Day in a series of published challenges. The Taliban’s warm-weather offensive put into motion, as they pledged in spring, a “twin-tracked political and military approach” to regain power targeting “foreign forces and their internal allies” with “conventional attacks, guerrilla warfare, complex martyrdom attacks, insider attacks, and use of IEDs.”