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U.S. ready to abandon Afghanistan: Gwynne Dyer

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18.07.2019

There is movement toward peace in Afghanistan — or at least toward an end to the American military ordeal there, which has lasted for almost 18 years.

U.S. officials and representatives of the Taliban insurgents have held seven rounds of direct talks in the tiny Gulf state of Qatar since last October, and they are getting close to a deal. During a visit to Afghanistan last month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration hoped for "a peace deal before September 1."

The real question is: how long after that will it be before the Taliban are back in power?

When a great power loses a war with a much weaker enemy in a very much poorer country, it can't actually admit defeat. That's just too humiliating. So the local victors often have to let the great-power loser save face by giving it a "decent interval" (in Henry Kissinger's deathless phrase) after the great power's troops pull out before they collect their winnings.

How long is a 'decent interval'? Generally around three years. That's how long North Vietnam waited after U.S. troops left South Vietnam (1972) before overrunning the South........

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