The Taliban’s end Game and the US Exit from Afghanistan
By Jeff Bates
The endgame for the Taliban is relatively straightforward. They have two main objectives and are determined to meet them. Their two objectives are to get all foreign troops out of the country and to implement Sharia law throughout all of Afghanistan. They will continue to wage terror on US troops and the Afghan people until these objectives are met.
President Trump seems anxious to end America’s longest war, especially after calling for the complete withdrawal of US troops in Syria. This comes even though ISIS ideology remains strong in the area. In response to Trump’s declaration that ISIS has been defeated in Syria, I believe that the Taliban takes this as a confirmation that their goals are going to be met – as long as they are patient and continue attacks against the US and allied troops. They see the withdrawal as a victory, that extremism will prevail against the “infidels”. Several countries have already left the country for good, and I see the US, under Trump, doing the same.
With weapons and bomb making materials flowing into the country, the Taliban can keep on wearing out the US and its allies. This is simply a war of attrition. Foreign governments will leave, achieving the Taliban’s first priority. Once the foreign forces are out, they will wage a civil war against the Kabul government until they get what they want – a return to traditional Sharia law in the entire country.
What does the Taliban have to lose? After nearly eighteen years of fighting, they remain relatively strong and organized and are gaining more ground as security is already slowing down. Although probably a large portion of the Afghan population does not want Sharia law put into effect, I believe that a potential future civil war and the killing of more Afghan civilians will eventually persuade all Afghans that the only way to peace is to accept the Taliban.
Wardak, Baheer. 2019. UNDERSTANDING THE ADVERSARY: WHAT THE TALIBAN THINK ABOUT AFGHANISTAN PEACE NEGOTIATIONS Accessed from https://warontherocks.com/2019/02/understanding-the-adversary-what-the-taliban-think-about-afghanistan-peace-negotiations/ March 26th, 2019.