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What the West has failed to grasp is that the Afghanistan does not begin and end with Kabul.
Afghanistan is large landmass of inhospitable territory peopled by a nation of warring tribes who have resisted every foreign invasion from time immemorial.
The rapacious Sikh Empire could not hold them and the British colonists decided to wash their hands of them after only a few adventures on the Afghan terrain.
The Russians next tried their luck with some tribes from the south of the former USSR and failed to make much of an impression. The Americans came next.
Seeking to make amends for their Viet Nam debacle these trans-Atlantics armed themselves to the teeth and poured men and money into the country.
After a long 17 years of fighting the Taliban (earlier known as the Mujahidin) the US and its allies used them to expel the Soviets al Asian landscape. This worked for a while but has since back-fired
The Afghan war has been devastating. It has cost the US an estimated $ 877 billion since it was begun in 2001 and the return of body bags have been horrendous. Reportedly, 2400 allied personnel have been killed, to which figure add 45000 Afghan soldiers and 20,000 civilians.
US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad thinks an agreement could be reached by July 2019, but a Taliban spokesman is reported to have said no understanding could be arrived at without a clear timetable of the allied forces leaving.
Seen in the context of the demand for the release of all Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo and US fears of Afghanistan reverting to a core Islamic state where it would have no say, Khalizad’s hopes of a swinging a bilateral deal are distant.
The only hope for lasting peace in Afghanistan say analysts would be to include an active Russia in the race of peace. So in near future Russia will enter the race for peace. But for the Western alliance the US envoy approaching the Taliban directly, as yet appears to be the preferred option.