This week marks the 18th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans.
That day was one of the worst in the history of this country.
In October of 2001, President George W. Bush ordered American forces to invade Afghanistan in retribution for the Taliban allowing Al Qaeda to use the country as a base for their terrorist training.
The Taliban allowed Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda to train and plan for the 9/11 terrorist attack, and for that, they faced the wrath of the United States.
Fast forward 18 years and the U.S. armed forces still have boots on the ground in the country with no end in sight.
The War Rages On
Afghanistan has bewildered multiple superpowers throughout history, including the Soviet Union in the 1980s.
Although the Taliban has not brought America to its knees, the Afghans have proven stubbornly difficult to defeat.
At times it has been unclear what the mission is in the Afghanistan War.
President Obama foolishly announced that he would be sending more troops into the country while simultaneously announcing a date for the eventual withdrawal from the country.
That strategy has recently been criticized by former Defense Secretary General James Mattis.
President Trump announced in 2017 that he would be keeping troops in the country despite his reluctance to be engaged in foreign wars.
However, he was ready to negotiate with the Taliban.
Trump surprised the world when he tweeted about a secret meeting that he was set to have with the Taliban leadership at Camp David.
Then, he shocked the world again by canceling the meeting upon news that an attack in Kabul had killed an American serviceman and injured eleven others.
Trump tweeted, “Unbeknownst to almost everyone, the major Taliban leaders and, separately, the President of Afghanistan, were going to secretly meet with me at Camp David on Sunday. They were coming to the United States tonight. Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, they admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great soldiers, and 11 other people.”
In response to Trump’s actions, the Taliban have vowed to ramp up the violence.
The Guardian reported, “Reacting to just one attack, just before the signing of the agreement, shows neither patience nor experience.
The Taliban would continue their ‘Jihad’ against foreign ‘occupation,’ the statement said. ‘Now, the announcement by the president of the United States, Donald Trump, of an end to negotiation with the Islamic Emirate [the Taliban] will harm America more than anyone else; it will harm its credibility, and further expose its anti-peace stance to the world; it would result in an increase in financial damage and casualties to its forces.”
Holding talks with Taliban leadership at Camp David during the week of September 11th is not a good look for the president or the United States.
Regardless of what one may think about the president’s strategy to negotiate an end to the Afghan War, the timing was terrible. The Taliban made the attacks on 9/11 possible and he thought it was no big deal to have them come to the U.S. on the eighteenth anniversary of that horrible day.
Although his strategy may work in the long run, this wasn’t the week to test that strategy out.