On Friday, August 16, 2019, President Donald Trump announced the completion of a meeting with his national security team on matters related to Afghanistan.
This meeting dealt with a peace agreement that he is trying to set up with the Taliban.
This meeting took place at Trump’s resort in Bedminster, N.J. and focused on “the status of negotiations for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan” according to a statement from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Led by the president, we are working diligently on the path forward in Afghanistan. In continued close cooperation with the government of Afghanistan, we remain committed to achieving a comprehensive peace agreement, including a reduction in violence and a ceasefire, ensuring that Afghan soil is never again used to threaten the United States or her allies and bringing Afghans together to work towards peace.
Before this meeting, a senior official from the Trump administration told reporters that Trump has “been pretty clear” about his plans to pull out of Afghanistan.
Once the meeting concluded, Trump tweeted that he was looking to strike a deal “if possible.”
Just completed a very good meeting on Afghanistan. Many on the opposite side of this 19 year war, and us, are looking to make a deal – if possible!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2019
Pompeo revealed that Vice President Pence, national security adviser John Bolton, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, CIA Director Gina Haspel and special envoy for Afghan peace talks Zalmay Khalilzad were in attendance for this meeting.
America has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan who are engaged in missions to train and advise Afghan forces to fight against the Taliban. Additionally, American forces are carrying out counterterrorism missions against terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS.
Several neoconservative elected officials such as Lindsey Graham had strong words about these negotiations.
Graham tweeted, “To trust the Taliban to control Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other radical Islamist groups present in Afghanistan – as a replacement for a US counter-terrorism force – would be a bigger mistake than Obama’s Iranian nuclear deal.”
He added, “Mr. President, learn from President Obama’s mistakes. A bad agreement puts the radical Islamist movement all over the world on steroids. Be smart, take your time, and listen to your national security team.”
Graham and other neocons have played an instrumental role in blocking troop withdrawals in both Afghanistan and Syria.