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The Trump administration’s emerging deal with the Taliban has the potential to bring greater stability to Afghanistan, after an 18-year inconclusive war in that country. Or it could reignite the Afghan civil war, emboldening terrorist groups and plunging the nation into another decade of turmoil — which might then force the United States to return to the battlefield in large numbers. That is, after all, what happened after the United States withdrew too quickly from Iraq in 2011.

It all depends on how it is handled. The key must be a political settlement between the Taliban and the Afghan government and not the rapid withdrawal of U.S troops.

The president deserves credit for having authorized the negotiations in Doha between a special envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, and the Taliban. The next step is for the talks to broaden to involve the Afghan government. The end result would be a national unity government that includes both the current Afghan government and the Taliban. It may sound far-fetched, but it could be achieved in phases, over time.

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