New U.S.-Taliban deal stays silent on private mercenaries in Afghanistan

Investigative journalist Azmat Khan says there is reason to be skeptical of the new U.S.-Taliban withdrawal accord, which is currently being hailed as a major step in ending America’s longest war in Afghanistan. Under the deal, nearly 5,000 U.S. troops will leave the country in 135 days. The rest of the troops will withdraw 14 months later if the Taliban comply with the terms of the agreement. But Khan says the deal makes no mention of what will become of private military contractors in Afghanistan, which outnumber U.S. troops 2 to 1. “There’s a really big gap here that people need to watch,” says Khan, warning that the continued use of private contractors to serve U.S. military interests could “allow the U.S. to continue the war while reducing its overt troop levels and sustaining that war with a sort of invisible army.”

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