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The Debate

Talking to the Taliban: What future for Afghanistan without US troops?

Is it the beginning of the end to the longest military campaign in US history? 17 years after a coalition chased the Taliban out of Kabul, Washington's envoy has reached a tentative deal on a roadmap that would see US forces pull out by an unspecified date. But there are many "ifs"... If the Taliban themselves unite behind the plan, if the insurgents negotiate a durable ceasefire with the government in Kabul, and if Ashraf Ghani is still the president.

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Ghani - who was not part of the talks in Qatar - is running for re-election in July. More broadly, can Afghanistan's government go it alone once the US withdraws? For ordinary citizens, is it really a choice between corruption and mismanagement and the return of an Islamic fundamentalist regime that strips women of their rights?

For Donald Trump, it would certainly be quite the coup to succeed where predecessors have failed in leaving. Unless, like we've seen in Iraq, it means having to make a quick return. After the Syria pullout announcement, what exactly does the future hold for the US military on the world stage?

Produced by Charles WENTE, Laure FOURQUET and James VASINA.

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