Updated: Jun 8
On April 2, 2020, the Afghan government began preparations to release nearly 100 Taliban fighters from Bagram Airbase. In exchange, the Taliban agreed to return 20 captured members of Afghan security forces. The New York Times spoke to a senior official in the office of President Ashraf Ghani on the condition of anonymity, "It was decided in the morning that 100 Taliban should be released in exchange for 20 members of Afghan security forces today."
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, along with other top officials from the Department of State, have hailed the exchange as a sign of progress in the Afghan peace process. The release, however, harkens back to the end of the Vietnam War. Less than two years after the release of prisoners by both North and South Vietnam, the North successfully invaded South Vietnam in spite of peace agreements signed by both sides. If the United States fails to support the Afghan government with both lethal and non-lethal aid following the conclusion of a peace agreement, the government in Kabul will likely fall, just as the government of South Vietnam did in 1975.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Army, Department of Defense, or the United States Government.