With a peace deal signed Saturday, the US occupation of Afghanistan has entered the beginning of the end, at least ideally. If all goes well, all American troops will be out of Afghanistan within 14 months.
The ink on the paper is hardly dry, but US officials are already looking to define the terms of withdrawing from the deal, saying the pullout is conditional on the Taliban meeting many commitments along the way.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is already predicting a “rocky and bumpy” future in Afghanistan, which seems like it will give the US plenty of pretexts to back out of the peace deal down the line if they decide not to withdraw after all.
The plan has always been to cut US troop levels in the lead-up to the 2020 election, and it will likely be seen as preferable by the administration to do this as part of a broader deal, even if they don’t ultimately intend to finish the pullout.
Rumors abound of a secret annex to the peace deal allowing the US to keep some troops in Afghanistan, and while the Pentagon denies knowledge of this, there has yet to be any conclusive proof that secret annexes don’t exist.