U.S. President Donald Trump has floated the possibility of a deal with the Taliban
after a meeting with senior advisors on Afghan issues.
“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!” Trump tweeted on Friday evening.
Trump met with his cabinet officials and other senior national security advisors at his New Jersey
golf resort to hear a briefing by Zalmay Khalilzad, Washington’s special envoy for peace
in Afghanistan, U.S. media reported.
The White House released a statement about the meeting later in the day, saying the
attendees included Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary
of Defense Mark Esper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford and
National Security Advisor John Bolton.
“Discussions centered around our ongoing negotiations and eventual peace and reconciliation
agreement with the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan,” the statement added.
The United States and the Taliban are believed close to announcing an agreement on an initial U.S.
troop exit from the war-torn country and plans to start direct talks between the Taliban and
the Afghan government.
Trump has long been grumbling about the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan that started in 2001,
calling it “ridiculous.”
The United States maintained some 14,000 troops in Afghanistan, largely providing training
missions to local Afghan forces while also conducting counterterrorism operations against
terror groups such as al-Qaida and the Islamic State