«The Taliban must abide by the agreement, especially with regard to their promises to sever ties with terrorists,» Pompeo told the Foreign Ministry earlier this week. «We have here our deep interest in the fight against terrorism and we made sure that the country of origin was never attacked. This is one of the central foundations of what President Trump has presented to us. After months of negotiations, Hezb-i Islami Gulbuddin, the second largest national militant group after the Taliban, signed a peace agreement in Kabul with the government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. It was the first peace treaty since the war in Afghanistan began in 2001. Government officials hailed the deal as a step toward peace and possibly also a deal with the Taliban. [57] Others, however, shared their concerns about alleged war crimes committed by controversial leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. The agreement called for the U.S. to whitelist him from a list of «global terrorists.» Parts of Afghan society have protested against the peace treaty because of its previous actions. [58] The United States should take three steps to move the process forward. First, the drawdown should be automatically stopped at 8,600, until a political agreement is reached and a ceasefire is reached.

Second, the U.S. military should continue to support the Afghan security forces and help defend them with airstrikes when they are attacked. There is nothing in the agreement or anywhere else for such support to end before the conditional withdrawal of the United States is concluded, and that is a good thing. The Taliban should not be allowed to use the battlefield to improve their negotiating position. Third, Congress should request updates to the negotiations, support the suspension of the withdrawal, and continue to fund afghan security forces. Congressional vigilance supports conditionality. . . .