Time International - 02.03.2020

(Jacob Rumans) #1
Time March 2–9, 2020

TheBrief News

For more Than a year, U.S. envoy Zalmay
Khalilzad has been trying to negotiate an end
to the 18-year war in Afghanistan. Now Khalil-
zad, or Zal, as he’s widely known, is confident
he’s on the brink of inking an elusive peace
deal between Washington and the militant
group that sheltered al-Qaeda terrorists while
they plotted the attacks of 9/11.
If he succeeds, Zal will deliver a pivotal
election-year victory for his boss, President
Donald Trump, who has long pledged to end
America’s involvement in “endless wars.” If he
fails, the U.S. will remain mired in the longest
war in American history, a conflict that has
killed more than 3,500 U.S. and NATO troops,
cost the U.S. government nearly $900 billion,
and left more than 100,000 Afghan casualties
and millions more displaced.
Khalilzad’s allies say the Afghan-born dip-
lomat is a wily and skillful dealmaker who
brings a rare combination of regional experi-
ence, ambition, charisma and healthy cyni-
cism to the job. But his detractors in Washing-
ton worry that he’ll say anything to anybody
to get the key players to sign off on a deal for
Trump, whether or not it’s built to last.
At its core, Khalilzad’s deal offers this basic
bargain: the Taliban will reduce its violent at-
tacks on U.S. and Afghan troops, and the U.S.
will withdraw much of its forces from the
country. Talks between the Taliban, Afghan


Bungled burglaries
Two burglars who broke into a London LGBT bookstore lingered long
enough to get caught in the kitchen drinking prosecco, reports
emerged on Feb. 13. Here, other thwarted thefts. —Suyin Haynes


In 2011, a burglar
in China’s Liaoning
province tried to
climb through a fifth-
floor window into
an apartment, but
got stuck dangling
above the street.
Firefighters rescued
him before handing
him over to police.


A suspected car thief
in Pretoria, South
Africa, was caught
when an auto-lock
system trapped him
inside the car he was
trying to rob in 2014,
reportedly imprisoning
him for over an hour
and a half before the
owner returned.


In March 2019,
police accused a
Montana man of
breaking into a bike
shop and stealing
some sunglasses
and a bicycle. He left
his wallet and state-
issued ID behind,
making it easy to
track him down.



Johnson aide
resigns over
race scandal

Andrew Sabisky, a newly
appointed adviser to
U.K. Prime Minister
Boris Johnson, resigned
on Feb. 17, after past
comments on race
and IQ resurfaced
indicating his support
for eugenics. Sabisky
accused the media of
“selective quoting”and

Protests shut
down Canada’s
rail networks

Indigenous and other
activists protesting a
natural-gas pipeline in
British Columbia shut
down government
buildings, bridges
and rail lines around
Canada for more than
a week. Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau said on
Feb. 17 he hoped for
a quick and peaceful
resolution to the
blockade, which has
had a significant impact
on the economy.

Trump lifts
penalties on
11 individuals

President Trump
pardoned or commuted
the sentences of
11 people convicted of
white collar crimes on
Feb. 18. They included
ex–Illinois Governor
Rod Blagojevich,
who was serving a
14-year sentence for
corruption; financier
Michael Milken,
convicted of securities
fraud; and ex–NYC
police commissioner
Bernard Kerik.

officials and other Afghan parties will deter-
mine the future shape of the country and the
militants’ role in it. On Feb. 14, U.S. officials
said the Taliban committed to a seven-day
“reduction in violence” to show it’s serious,
but its leaders won’t publicly agree to Wash-
ington’s demand of keeping U.S. counter-
terrorism forces in Afghanistan.
To get past that roadblock, Khalilzad has
come up with a rickety work-around. The deal
contains secret annexes, according to three
people familiar with the draft: an agreement
for U.S. counterterrorism forces to stay in
Afghanistan for now; details of a Taliban de-
nouncement of terrorism and violent extrem-
ism; a mechanism to monitor the semi-truce
while talks between warring Afghan parties
proceed; and details on how the CIA will op-
erate in Taliban-controlled areas. The State
Department and Khalilzad’s office declined to
comment on those annexes, and a Taliban offi-
cial has insisted they are just “rumors.”
The fragile deal could be signed by the end
of February—if everyone stays on board. Tali-
ban leaders could refuse to work with Afghan
President Ashraf Ghani, who on Feb. 18 was
declared the winner of September’s disputed
presidential election. Taliban fighters could
break the weeklong “cease-fire” in reaction
to their leaders’ agreeing to allow some U.S.
forces to stay behind. Or Trump could tap out
a damaging tweet—and send his envoy back to
the negotiating table.
For Zal, it would be the deal of a lifetime.
And for the Afghan generation that has grown
up during the war, the stakes couldn’t be
higher. —Kimberly DoZier


Can a White House
envoy deliver Afghan
peace for Trump?




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