The White House signaled progress Friday in preparations for a peace deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan, saying that discussions between President Donald Trump and top advisors went “very well”.
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 quoted in a report by AFP.
Also present were national security point man John Bolton and the US Special Representative for the Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad.
“Discussions centered around our ongoing negotiations and eventual peace and reconciliation agreement with the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan. The meeting went very well, and negotiations are proceeding,” deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement as quoted by AFP.
Mr. 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.
Reports indicate that as part of a possible peace deal between the US and the Taliban, the US forces number will be reduced to 8,000 to 9,000 from the current 15,000.
“In continued close cooperation with the government of Afghanistan, we remain committed to achieving a comprehensive peace agreement,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement as quoted by AFP.
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.