Washington doesn’t need the Taliban’s cooperation or permission to extricate the U.S. military from an 18-year stalemate. It should withdraw right now without waiting for the Taliban to sign an accord it’s highly unlikely to abide by anyway.
There should be no sugarcoating about what will happen when U.S. forces finally leave. The Taliban will capture more territory; human rights abuses will continue; and Kabul will struggle to maintain its position. But it’s past time for U.S. policymakers to acknowledge that Afghanistan will remain at war internally, regardless of how many U.S. soldiers are sacrificed on the ground. Thanks to its superior intelligence and strike capabilities, the United States can continue to defend against anti-American terrorism without indefinitely supporting the weak, corrupt Afghan government.
Daniel R. DePetris, Astoria, N.Y.
The writer is a fellow at Defense Priorities, a foreign policy think tank in Washington.