By: Lailuma Noori
The White House has signaled progress in preparations for a peace deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan, saying that discussions between President Donald Trump and top advisors went “very well”.
The meeting was aimed to review talks with the Taliban group, possible US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and find a political settlement for the 18-year old war in Afghanistan.
Trump met at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf course with national security advisors including Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, the White House said in a statement.
Also present were national security point man John Bolton and the US Special Representative for the Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad.
President Donald Trump said in a tweet that he had 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,” he added.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a tweet said that in continued close cooperation with the government of Afghanistan, we would remain committed to achieving a comprehensive peace agreement.
Prior to meeting of the US President with his advisors about Afghanistan, an influential Republican senator has urged President Donald Trump not to hurry in agreement with the Taliban group.
Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a presidential ally, has said: “American service members are not acting as policemen in Afghanistan.”
In a statement, Graham said: “The US soldiers are the front-line of defense for America against the reemergence of radical Islamist groups…”
Any peace agreement denying the US a robust counter-terrorism capability in Afghanistan was not a peace deal, the lawmaker remarked.
“Instead, it is paving the way for another attack on the American homeland and attacks against American interests around the world,” the senator added.
He asked Trump to make sound and sustainable decisions on the issue. “A bad agreement puts the radical Islamist movement all over the world on steroids.” Graham issued the statement shortly before Trump met top national security advisers at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf resort to discuss the matter. RELATED: Trump to meet security officials on Afghanistan as concerns mount about US withdrawal
“President Trump should learn from Obama’s mistakes. Be smart, take your time and listen to your national security team,” said Graham, who is seen as a foreign policy hawk.
The senator had vehemently opposed Obama’s decision to withdraw from Iraq, saying the move helped lead to the rise of groups like ISIS.
It is worth mentioning that the US and the Taliban concluded their eighth round of talks on Doha on August 12 which were focused on four key issues: US forces withdrawal, counterterrorism assurances, a ceasefire and intra-Afghan negotiations.