President Meeting with Advisers on Afghan Peace Plan
Some potential exists for political settlement
President Trump and his top advisers are meeting Friday to review the status of negotiations with the Taliban on the potential for a political settlement in Afghanistan.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad (who has been dealing directly with the Taliban), Vice President Mike Pence, and White House national security adviser John Bolton are all expected to attend.
Although talks are said to have been productive in some areas, significant differences still remain between the U.S. and the Taliban. For one thing, Taliban leaders to date have refused to engage in official talks with the elected president of the Afghan government, which they denounce as a U.S. puppet.
Some 14,000 American troops remain engaged in Afghanistan, conducting training and advising Afghan security forces. They are also conducting counter-insurgency operations against militant groups like al Qaeda and the local affiliate of ISIS. President Trump Is adamant that he would like to withdraw U.S. forces, possibly ahead of the November 2020 election.
Senator Lindsey Graham has cautioned that any deal should allow the United States to maintain a military presence in that country to pursue the militant and insurgent groups who use Afghanistan as a sanctuary from which to expand or plot new attacks on the U.S. and its allies.
- For wisdom for President Trump and those advising him on withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.
That a political end to the 18-year war could be established.