Trump Decision To Exit Taliban Talks Part Of Re-Election Strategy - Ex-Pentagon Analyst

Trump Decision to Exit Taliban Talks Part of Re-Election Strategy - Ex-Pentagon Analyst

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 11th September, 2019) President Donald Trump's decision on Monday to break offnegotiations with the Taliban must be seen as part of his 2020 re-election campaign strategy, former Pentagon analyst and retired US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski told Sputnik on Tuesday.

"Everything in the Trump administration is based on the 2020 electoral outlook and his presidential campaign," Kwiatkowski said. "Given that, Trump is remembering his promises in 2016 and trying to do things that will allow him to campaign on how well he kept those promises."

On Monday, Trump announced that the US peace talks with the Taliban were "dead" after the group claimed responsibility for a Kabul attack that killed a US serviceman.

Kwiatkowski explained that Trump realized he could not fully end the war and pull US forces out in the face of powerful Deep State forces in his own country, but was going as far as he thought he could to maintain his credibility on the issue with his core base.

"Trump, like Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama was elected in part for advocating US troops return home from unwanted, unneeded and unpopular wars. [But he] has discovered, as did his predecessors, that the orientation of the US Federal apparatus and the Congress is strongly interventionist," she said.

Unlike his three predecessors, Trump has continually shared his thoughts and feelings with the public, Kwiatkowski noted.

"He has churned through a great number of appointees in the national security space over the past two and a half years," she said.

On Tuesday, Trump announced the dropping of his latest national security adviser, hardline hawk John Bolton, who is believed to have opposed any reduction in US combat forces serving in Afghanistan.

"Trump has repeatedly humiliated his neoconservative national security adviser [Bolton] for wanting to make war with everyone," Kwiatkowski observed.

Trump's reported plans for reducing US forces operating in Afghanistan without fully withdrawing them appeared to be structured with the 2020 election timetable in mind, Kwiatkowski pointed out.

"In real terms, if he is able to bring 5,000 troops and presumably at least 10,000 contractors home successfully, he will be able to finish the withdrawal in time for the 2020 US presidential election," she said.

In December 2018, a rumored US troop reduction of 7,000 troops caused scheduled elections in April 2019 to be postponed until July 20, and later delayed again. They are currently set for September 28.

However, "the Taliban have a long history of working against the US-engineered and funded election process in Kabul, using violence and threats of violence to undermine any 'elected' government," Kwiatkowski noted.

Even without the Taliban's behavior, those Kabul governments in the past largely represented US money and alliances, not Afghan demographics and domestic political interests, she cautioned.

The Taliban vowed on Tuesday to continue fighting against American forces in Afghanistan after the US president withdrew from peace talks with the group, according to the group's spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

Mujahid said as there was no further way of resolving the issue through negotiations, the Taliban would take the path of jihad, one that the United States would regret.

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