Like the rest of the world, the Taliban was watching Donald Trump’s America and ultimately what they saw was an opportunity, according to counter-terrorism expert Professor Greg Barton…
“When Donald Trump signed a peace agreement with the Taliban back in February last year … they [the US] were sucked in by a smoke and mirrors trick,” he told the ABC.
Dr Barton likened the Taliban’s participation in the peace deal to magicians’ craft.
“You’re so busy looking at what they’re doing with their left hand, you don’t see what they’re doing with their right,” he said.
“This whole peace treaty, largely conducted in Doha, was a deliberate distraction designed to lower the guard and to see what they could get out of Trump’s America.”
The Taliban knew America wanted out, and fast.
What they got was an “audacious” deal that included the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners.
Crucially, the Afghan government and leader Ashraf Ghani were largely excluded from the peace deal process.
“The deal signaled to regional actors that they needed to hedge their bets and start making provisions for the end of the Ghani regime in Afghanistan,” global security and strategy expert Dr Benjamin Jensen wrote for the Atlantic Council.
The stage was set.