Pence, Bolton opposed Taliban meeting at Camp David: report

Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceFive bombshells from explosive Sondland testimony 2019 Louisiana governor's race spells disaster for Trump in 2020 House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues MORE and national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonFive bombshells from explosive Sondland testimony Chris Wallace: Sondland testimony 'took out the bus and ran over' Trump, top aides Live coverage: Schiff closes with speech highlighting claims of Trump's corruption MORE were both opposed to a plan to meet with leaders of the Taliban and Afghanistan's president at Camp David, NBC News reported Monday.

The meeting to solidify a peace deal to end the 18-year-long war was first discussed during a September 1st Situation Room meeting, U.S. officials and others briefed on the discussion told the network.


Bolton was reportedly vehemently opposed to the proposal, while officials at the State Department argued it could move the parties closer to an agreement.

Pence also made a case against holding the meeting at Camp David, officials told NBC. Bolton and Pence were in Warsaw together around the time of the reported internal discussions.

A spokesman for Pence disputed the NBC report.

"The Vice President reserves his counsel for the President, and anyone claiming to know his thoughts on the matter aside from the President is mistaken," Pence's spokesperson told The Hill.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE called off the planned secret meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Taliban leaders on Saturday, citing a recent bombing in Kabul that killed a U.S. service member. The insurgent group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Officials and other sources familiar with the matter told NBC that some opposition from administration officials was related to the meeting being so close to the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Pence argued at one point that such a meeting could send the wrong message to members of the U.S. military who have fought the Taliban for years, according to NBC.

Bolton has been skeptical of the peace talks with the Taliban that have been in the works for months, the network noted.

U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad announced earlier this week that the Trump administration had reached an agreement "in principle" to shutter several bases and withdraw 5,000 troops from the country within about five months in exchange for the Taliban not allowing militants to use Afghanistan to plan attacks on the U.S. or its allies.