Below Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. peace envoy, the American authorities has been prepared to take dramatic steps, even within the face of opposition from the navy and regulation enforcement, to extricate america from its longest struggle and produce about some sort of peace in Afghanistan.
Along with the large-scale prisoner releases, the Trump administration has pushed for a fast withdrawal of navy forces within the nation, usually over the objections of the Pentagon. The U.S. navy has drawn right down to 2,500 troops, nonetheless stationed at roughly a dozen bases within the nation, regardless of opposition from U.S. lawmakers.
However as President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. prepares to take workplace, a key query stays — whether or not he’ll hold Mr. Khalilzad in place, or, push for a veteran diplomat of his personal selecting. Mr. Biden has lengthy had a skeptical view of a large American presence in Afghanistan, however not like President Trump, he has additionally argued for a counterterrorism power within the nation.
The F.B.I., based on U.S. officers, positioned Ms. Hasan on an inventory of people that shouldn’t be launched as a part of the Feb. 29 deal between america and the Taliban, wherein the U.S. agreed to push the Afghan authorities to free 5,000 prisoners. Officers in Australia and France additionally pushed, to no avail, for a small variety of the 5,000 prisoners, those that have been convicted of killing their residents, to stay locked up.
However Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who oversaw the negotiations and guided them based mostly on his interpretation of what Mr. Trump wished, informed overseas governments that “there was no different however to maneuver ahead with the prisoner releases because the events had agreed,” based on an official who labored on the February settlement.
Internally, the State Division ultimately overruled the request to maintain Ms. Hasan behind bars, as nicely. The choice was a part of a broader effort by the White Home to expedite talks between the Afghan authorities and the Taliban earlier than the November presidential election in america, the officers mentioned.
In a press release to The Instances, a State Division spokesperson mentioned the prisoner swap was “a troublesome resolution for the Afghans to make” and for america to simply accept, including that it was “not one thing we’re completely happy about.”