U.S. President Donald Trump has floated the possibility of a deal with the Taliban after a meeting with senior advisors on Afghan issues.
“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 tweeted on Friday evening.
Trump met with his cabinet officials and other senior national security advisors at his New Jersey golf resort to hear a briefing by Zalmay Khalilzad, Washington’s special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, U.S. media reported.
The White House released a statement about the meeting later in the day, saying the attendees included Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford and National Security Advisor John Bolton.
“Discussions centered around our ongoing negotiations and eventual peace and reconciliation agreement with the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan,” the statement added.
The United States and the Taliban are believed close to announcing an agreement on an initial U.S. troop exit from the war-torn country and plans to start direct talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.
Trump has long been grumbling about the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan that started in 2001, calling it “ridiculous.”
The United States maintained some 14,000 troops in Afghanistan, largely providing training missions to local Afghan forces while also conducting counterterrorism operations against terror groups such as al-Qaida and the Islamic State.