President Trump and the First Lady spent Thanksgiving in Afghanistan with U.S. troops. While he was at it, Mr. Trump reset the terms for renewed talks with our principal enemy there, the Taliban.
The President prides himself on being an accomplished negotiator. Stipulating that the Taliban agree to a cease-fire – something they had heretofore refused to do – is a classic technique of moving the goal posts to improve the likely outcome of such talks.
Mr. Trump should now double down by establishing conditions under which such a cease-fire would likely conduce to an actual peace with security for the Afghan people. He should replace most of the remaining U.S. forces in country with contractors to support Afghanistan’s armed forces while adopting the successful Vietnam-era CORDS counter-insurgency model for securing the population.
That’s a formula for victory, not surrender to the Taliban.