U.S. President Donald Trump held a meeting with his cabinet officials and other senior security advisers on Friday and discussed the status of negotiations with the Taliban over the troop pullout from Afghanistan and prospects for a political settlement to end the long-term war in the country.
Trump held the session at his New Jersey Bedminster Golf Club with Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph F. Dunford, CIA Director Gina Haspel, White House national security adviser John Bolton, and the U.S. Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.
“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 said in a tweet after the session.
The U.S. Secretary of State said in a tweet that the United States is working diligently on the path forward in Afghanistan.
“In close cooperation with Afghanistan, we remain committed to achieving a comprehensive peace agreement, including a reduction in violence and a ceasefire,” Pompeo said. “Ensuring Afghan soil is never again used to threaten the U.S. or her allies, and bringing Afghans together to work towards peace.”
According to a report by the Washington Post, an initial withdrawal under the proposed deal would include roughly 5,000 of the 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. In exchange, the Taliban would agree to renounce al-Qaeda and to bar it from activities such as fundraising, recruiting, training and operational planning in areas under Taliban control.