Diplomacy Can’t Solve All of Afghanistan’s Problems

But Neither Can U.S. Troops

A U.S. Marine at an outpost near Kunjak in southern Afghanistan, February 2011 Finbarr O'Reilly/REUTERS

On the night of August 17, as over 1,000 guests danced at a wedding celebration in Dubai City, a hall in Kabul named after the Afghan elite’s favorite weekend getaway, a 23-year-old interloper detonated his suicide vest by the bandstand. The blast killed 80 people and wounded nearly 200 more, mostly from the Hazara ethnic group, followers of the Shiite sect of Islam predominant in that neighborhood of western Kabul. The groom and bride, who are both Shiite, miraculously survived. “I will never see happiness in my life again,” the groom, a tailor named Mirwais Elmi, told Afghanistan’s TOLOnews.

This was the worst of the bloody events that have punctuated nine rounds of peace talks between U.S. and Taliban negotiators since July 2018. Ten days earlier, a Taliban suicide attack on a Kabul police station left 14 dead and 145 wounded. On the night of August 11, a joint U.S.-Afghan unit of the

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