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Trump meets with his advisors to review the status of negotiations with the Taliban

August 17, 2019

WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 (Reuters / EP) –

The president of the United States, Donald Trump, met Friday with his main advisers to review the status of negotiations with the Taliban on the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

“The meeting has gone very well. The negotiations are progressing,” the White House said in an official statement. Trump, who is on vacation at the golf club in Bedminster (New Jersey), has stated through his Twitter social network account that he has had a “very good meeting” about Afghanistan. “We are looking to reach an agreement if possible,” he added.

Trump, who has repeatedly questioned the millions of dollars that the country's government has spent on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, has not hidden his desire for the United States to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.

Following this meeting, the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said that the United States remains committed to “achieving a comprehensive peace agreement, which includes a reduction of violence and a ceasefire in Afghanistan.”

US Vice President Mike Pence and White House National Security Advisor John Bolton; Defense Secretary Mike Esper; The head of the United States Defense General Staff, General Joseph Dunford, and CIA Director Gina Haspel, have been among the attendees, a senior White House official has reported.

Likewise, a spokesman for the US Government has indicated that there are still significant differences between the United States and the Taliban after Monday concluded an eighth round of talks in Qatar.

Currently, there are approximately 17,000 international military serving in Afghanistan, and about 8,500 US soldiers are part of the NATO Resolved Support Training mission, which aims to train Afghan forces and help Afghan security institutions improve their capabilities offensive and defensive.

To this contingent we must add the US military involved in the anti-terrorist intervention against al Qaeda and jihadist groups, so that in total Washington would have about 14,000 military in Afghanistan.

Trump has been adamant in his stance that he would like to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan, if possible before the 2020 elections. This decision has raised great concern in the US Army and among some congressmen who fear that Afghanistan will plunge in a new civil war in which the Taliban dominate the country again.

For his part, United States Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has said that any peace agreement should allow the United States to have a military presence in Afghanistan to persecute these groups.

“Any peace agreement that denies the United States a strong anti-terrorist capacity in Afghanistan is not a peace agreement,” he said in an official statement. “Instead, they are preparing the ground for another attack on the American homeland and against American interests around the world.”

A spokesman for the Trump Administration has insisted that it was to be expected that a decision will not be made at the Bedminster meeting, although he has clarified that Trump has been “quite clear as to why he wants to bring the troops home.”