Trump edges closer to Taliban deal that would pull thousands of US troops out of Afghanistan

US Troops stationed in Afghanistan. Image: Screenshot.

It’s approaching two decades that the United States has been fighting in Afghanistan, making it the longest military engagement in our long, storied history, but it may soon be coming to an end with a proposed peace deal with the Taliban.

The Pentagon will withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan, if the deal can be reached, Fox News reported — though there’s still much to accomplish before it comes to be.

“While RS [Resolute Support] or DOD [The Department of Defense] can speak with more authority on this issue, we have not adjusted our troop levels in Afghanistan to reflect our discussions with either the Afghan government or the Taliban,” a State Department official told Fox News. “The presence of U.S. forces has long been conditions-based.  Adjustments over the years have been conditions-based.  And any future reductions or withdrawal of forces will also be conditions-based.”

U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, the Afghan-born former U.S. ambassador to Kabul, has been negotiating with the Taliban. He hinted on social media that a deal, which will reportedly include the Taliban breaking ties with Al-Qaeda, may be close.

“Wrapping up my most productive visit to #Afghanistan since I took this job as Special Rep. The US and Afghanistan have agreed on next steps. And a negotiating team and technical support group are being finalized,” Khalilzad tweeted.

In a second tweet, he added: “I’m off to Doha, with a stop in Islamabad. In Doha, if the Taliban do their part, we will do ours, and conclude the agreement we have been working on.”

President Donald Trump campaigned on getting out of never-ending wars in the Middle East and said in his State of the Union address earlier this year that “great nations do not fight endless wars.”

“Our brave troops have now been fighting in the middle east for almost 19 years. In Afghanistan and Iraq, nearly 7,000 American heroes have given their lives. More than 52,000 Americans have been badly wounded. We have spent more than $7 trillion in the Middle East,” Trump said.

“As a candidate for president, I loudly pledged a new approach. Great nations do not fight endless wars.”

In speaking of bringing U.S. troops home from Syria, the president added that he has “accelerated our negotiations to reach a political settlement in Afghanistan.”

At the height of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, there were 100,000 troops in the country, with Trump saying last month that the Pentagon was cutting the remaining force of 14,000 down to 9,000.

“With Afghanistan, it’s 19 years and we should not have been there 19 years and if we were, you know, it would be nice to fight to win,” the president told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.

Sen. Lindsey Graham took to Twitter to voice his take on events, while encouraging Trump to “keep your foot on their throat!”

“Very interested to see what kind of deal is made with the Taliban in Afghanistan. One thing I know for certain — al-Qaeda and ISIS will never be at the negotiating table,” he said in response to a Washington Post story on the pending deal.

“A meaningful counter-terrorism force is an insurance policy against another 9/11,” he added in another tweet. “Fight them there so they don’t ever come here again!”

Graham also reminded us of Afghanistan’s role on the Sept. 11, 2001 attack, calling on the U.S. to remain resilient.

“The Taliban gave safe haven to Bin Laden and al-Qaeda. Afghanistan is where the 9/11 attacks were planned. ISIS/al-Qaeda presence in Afghanistan (ISIS-K) has been growing as we increase the pressure in Syria and Iraq. ISIS-K can be very lethal to the American homeland,” he tweeted.

Of course, the Trump-hating left are still going to complain, even though they wrote the book on ending foreign wars.

As seen below, there are two compelling arguments at play: trying to end the war while negotiating with a group like the Taliban.



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