The Sisyphean Exercise Of Afghanistan In One Shocking Map

President Trump announced Monday that his controversial Afghan peace talks and the entire process is “dead” — explaining the Taliban had continued its terror offensive targeting US personnel and allies amid talks, specifically an American soldier in a car bombing last week. 

"They are dead, they are dead," Trump told reporters on the White House lawn. "As far as I'm concerned, they are dead." 

He further described that Taliban officials had been spreading the word that they’d made a “big mistake” in crossing him.

Via Outlook Afghanistan

"They thought they had to kill people in order to put themselves in a little better negotiating position," Trump said.

"When I heard, very simply, that they killed one of our soldiers and 12 other innocent people, I said 'There is no way I'm meeting on that basis. There is no way I’m meeting.' They did a mistake. And by the way they are telling people they made a big mistake. They are saying it loud and clear that they made a big mistake."

Soon after Trump first announced Saturday that direct peace talks were effectively ended, also acknowledging Taliban leaders were set to "secretly meet with me at Camp David on Sunday," the administration immediately starting painting a rosy picture of how things are going in America's longest war - now approaching two decades.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo promptly claimed the US had killed over 1,000 Taliban in just the last 10 days

“Well a lot of them are in their graves, and so make no mistake about it. We will continue to punish, we will continue to pound, we will continue to fight. We will continue to protect the American people,” he told CNN's Jake Tapper while making the rounds on multiple Sunday shows. 

* * *

The Map

But what's the end game here?

The map below shows the shocking reality that a little less than half of the entire country's population is actually firmly under the US-backed national government's control (just 48%) after over eighteen years of war and countless American sacrifice in blood and treasure. 

And a majority the territory across Afghanistan is still considered "contested" (in red below) according to an interactive map maintained by FDD's Long War Journal (see full-sized interactive map here).

This led one former Green Beret and current journalist, Jack Murphy, to say it's past time to just skip right to the end game: get out and get out now.

He said, "instead of all of this navel gazing, teeth gnashing, and handwringing, let's just skip right to the end game?"

Trump's instincts to withdraw from the Afghan quagmire are correct (as they were on Syria as well before an avalanche of deep state push back). 

Indeed let's just skip right to the end game, assuming the end result will be the same no matter what. At least no more Americans would have to die, and no more tax dollars drained, on what in the end is a futile Sisyphean exercise

* * *

Via "The Myth of Sisyphus and Man’s Search for Meaning"/Medium.com

The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor.

Albert Camus, THE MYTH OF SISYPHUS