Afghan peace activists shout slogans in demand to an end to the war during a march from Helmand as they arrive in Kabul on June 18, 2018.  Dozens of peace protesters arrived in Kabul on June 18 after walking hundreds of kilometres across war-battered Afghanistan, as the Taliban ended an unprecedented ceasefire and resumed attacks in parts of the country.

Afghan peace activists shout slogans in demand to an end to the war during a march from Helmand as they arrive in Kabul on June 18, 2018. Dozens of peace protesters arrived in Kabul on June 18 after walking hundreds of kilometres across war-battered Afghanistan, as the Taliban ended an unprecedented ceasefire and resumed attacks in parts of the country.

Starting on June 15, the Taliban and Afghan security forces held a three-day ceasefire to celebrate Eid al-Fitr. The Taliban resumed fighting on June 18, although Afghan President Ashrif Ghani had asked to extend the ceasefire.

Videos posted on social media appeared to show Taliban fighters and civilians interacting and celebrating together.

But the three days weren’t entirely peaceful. Al-Jazeera reported a first attack on June 16 in Nangarhar province, which was claimed by ISIS and killed at least 30 people and wounded more than 65. There was another attack on June 17, a suicide bombing close to the governor’s office in Jalalabad, which killed at least 18 people. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the second attack.

This tenuous weekend represents the profound difficulty of Afghanistan. The conflict is the longest military engagement by the United States — troops have been there since October of 2001, at a tremendous cost to Afghans and Americans alike. The United Nations reported that over 10,000 Afghan civilians were killed in 2017 alone. Thousands of American servicemembers have died there too — about 2,400. And the U.S. has spent nearly $2 trillion dollars on the conflict.

Is there a disconnect between American politicians and servicemembers in Afghanistan? Is it time for the U.S. to withdraw? What would make a peaceful resolution possible?

Gabrielle Healy

Guests

  • Courtney Kube National security and military reporter, NBC News; @ckubenbc
  • Michael Kugelman Deputy Director, Asia Program at the Wilson Center; @michaelkugelman
  • Kristen Rouse Veteran, United States Army; director, New York City Veterans Alliance; Director, Asia Program at the Wilson Center; @trueboots
  • Matt Zeller Veteran, United States Army; co-founder, No One Left Behind; @mattczeller

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