Trump meets with national security team on Afghanistan peace plan

Trump meets with national security team on Afghanistan peace plan
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump second-term plans remain a mystery to GOP Trump to hold outdoor rally in New Hampshire on Saturday Eighty-eight years of debt pieties MORE met Friday with his national security team to discuss a pending peace agreement with the Taliban.

In a statement after the meeting, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoBack to the future: In January 2021 America needs to rejoin the world and start leading again Iran releases photo of damaged nuclear fuel production site: report To support Hong Kong's freedom, remember America's revolution MORE said the meeting at Trump's resort in Bedminster, N.J., focused on "the status of negotiations for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan."

"Led by the president, we are working diligently on the path forward in Afghanistan," Pompeo said. "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."

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A senior administration official told reporters before the meeting that Trump has “been pretty clear” about his desire to withdraw from Afghanistan.

After the meeting, Trump said he was looking to make a deal "if possible."

"Just completed a very good meeting on Afghanistan," Trump tweeted. "Many on the opposite side of this 19 year war, and us, are looking to make a deal - if possible!"

Attendees also included Vice President Pence, national security adviser John BoltonJohn BoltonTrump second-term plans remain a mystery to GOP Bolton: Trump's time watching TV versus in the Oval Office 'would be a very interesting statistic' Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers to address alarming spike in coronavirus cases MORE, Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperDuckworth to block military confirmations until Esper proves Vindman will be promoted House panel votes to limit Trump's Germany withdrawal House panel votes to ban Confederate flag at Pentagon property MORE, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, CIA Director Gina HaspelGina Cheri HaspelRussian bounties revive Trump-GOP foreign policy divide Overnight Defense: House panel votes to ban Confederate flag on all Pentagon property | DOD report says Russia working to speed US withdrawal from Afghanistan | 'Gang of Eight' to get briefing on bounties Thursday Top intelligence officials to brief Gang of Eight on Thursday MORE and special envoy for Afghan peace talks Zalmay Khalilzad, Pompeo said.

Khalilzad has been engaging in talks with the Taliban for months on a deal to end America’s longest war that would see a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in exchange for Taliban assurances that it will not let terrorist groups use the country to launch attacks against the United States.

Finalization of a deal has been stymied by the Taliban’s refusal of inter-Afghan talks that the United States has been pushing for.

The eighth round of talks took place in Qatar earlier this month and ended without an announcement of a deal. Khalilzad called the talks “productive” and said he would “consult on next steps” back in Washington.

The United States has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan on a dual mission of training, advising and assisting Afghan forces in their fight against the Taliban, and conducting counterterrorism missions against groups such as al Qaeda and ISIS.

Top Republican lawmakers have warned Trump against a full withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“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,” Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump second-term plans remain a mystery to GOP Russian bounties revive Trump-GOP foreign policy divide Jaime Harrison seeks to convince Democrats he can take down Lindsey Graham MORE (R-S.C.) tweeted Friday.

“Mr. President, learn from President Obama’s mistakes,” Graham added in another tweet. “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.”

Updated at 7:17 p.m.