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Trump to meet top security advisers on Taliban peace plan

Trump to meet top security advisers on Taliban peace plan

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On
Aug 16, 2019 - 17:12

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): President Donald Trump is likely to meet with his top national security advisers on Friday to review a US-Talibaninfo-icon peace plan at his Bedminster golf resort.

Besides Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford are also expected to be present at the meeting.

Sourced told CNN that the major topic will be Afghanistaninfo-icon and the plan that Taliban negotiator, Zalmay Khalilizad, has been working on for months to end the conflict.

The peace plan is expected to formalize a significant withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan -- from about 15,000 troops to 8,000 or 9,000 troops -- and enshrine official commitments by the Taliban to counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan

The CNN quoted a source as saying the Taliban's insistence on only committing to a ceasefire with the US was a serious obstacle during the negotiations.

Not including a Taliban-Afghan ceasefire in the deal could lead to a situation in which the conflict continues without the Americans playing a significant role, changing the balance of forces against Kabul's government.

Bill Roggio, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and editor of FDD's Long War Journal, said that if the plan turns out as expected, it amounts to a betrayal.

"I would argue the Trump administration sold the Afghan government out the minute they excluded the Afghan government from the talks and this US-Taliban ceasefire is just an extension of that," Roggio said.

"The US is 100% betraying the Afghan people, the Afghan government, and the Afghan military in order to extricate itself from the country," Roggio said, adding that "this peace deal is essentially a surrender for the US."

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