Just days after US president Donald Trump met his national security team on Afghanistan, a suicide bomber killed 63 and wounded 182 at a wedding in the national capital Kabul. The deadliest attack of the year — for which the Islamic State claimed responsibility — prompted a bevy of media criticism of the approaching deal between the United States and the Taliban to end America's longest war even as Afghans wondered how safe they'd be under such an agreement.
The Washington Post, in an editorial column entitled Trump risks turning a chance for success in Afghanistan into a shameful failure, castigated Trump and his advisers for 'repeating the mistake for which they long blamed former president Barack Obama'.
"Trump’s politically motivated zeal resembles that of Obama, who in 2011 insisted on a full US withdrawal from Iraq, ignoring warnings — later tragically proved correct — that it could lead to the resurgence of jihadist movements there," the editorial wrote.
The editorial summed up by saying that the president — if he does not get an acceptable agreement with the Taliban, which would condition the final withdrawal of US troops on a settlement between the insurgents and the Afghan government — "risks turning what could still be a successful outcome for the United States in Afghanistan into a shameful failure".
The Guardian went further in their column Donald Trump’s ‘peace agreement’ is a betrayal of Afghanistan and its people. "It will not serve the interests of the Afghan people. More likely, this shoddy stitch-up will leave them trapped inside a pitiless conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of civilian lives since 2001," the column argued.
The column called a possible agreement without 'adequate security guarantees and a credible plan' a betrayal on many fronts.
"Trump must understand that if the US is to leave peacefully, it must do so responsibly and by stages, and in a way that ensures the hard-won political and social gains of recent years are not wantonly squandered. Afghanistan was broken. We in the west promised to fix it. Like it or not, that promise must be honoured," the editorial concluded.
An editorial in The Week entitled The Afghanistan Paradox struck a more balanced note, saying that "only bad choices and bad results were left in this generation-old war" and that "you cannot blame President Trump for wanting to leave Afghanistan."
However, it expressed concern for the fate of girls and women in Afghanistan under a possible peace agreement between the Taliban and the US and stated that Trump "shouldn't be allowed to claim a peace deal if it is made on the backs of women and girls in that country."
"There are no good options left to us in Afghanistan. Our obligation, after so long, is to do everything we can to ensure that leaving doesn't make the situation much worse. Optimism is impossible in Afghanistan. That's no reason to make a cynical deal in order to get out," the editorial argued.
Updated Date: Aug 20, 2019 19:15:52 IST