Pompeo will sign peace deal with the Taliban TOMORROW says Trump

BREAKING NEWS: Mike Pompeo will sign peace deal with the Taliban TOMORROW says Donald Trump – opening way for thousands of U.S. troops to leave Afghanistan

  • Pompeo will fly to Doha, Qatar, to witness agreement with the Taliban
  • Event will see America’s top diplomat stand with leaders of militants, who harbored al-Qaeda before the 9/11 attacks
  • They are responsible for the deaths of thousands of American servicemen and women
  •  Signing comes after a week in which both U.S.-led forces and the Taliban committed to a reduction in violence
  • Under the plan being signed, the U.S. is to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan to 8,600 from about 13,000
  • Much of the plan remains vague, except to say that American troops will withdraw 
  • In return Taliban promise not to let extremists use the country as a staging ground for attacking the U.S. or its allies  

President Donald Trump said Friday that he’s dispatching Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the signing of an agreement with the Afghan Taliban aimed at beginning a draw down of thousands of U.S. troops and ending America’s 18-year involvement in the war.

Trump said Pompeo would soon, at the president’s direction, witness the signing of an agreement with the Taliban, an event that will see America’s top diplomat stand with leaders of militants, who harbored al-Qaeda before the 9/11 attacks and are responsible for the deaths of thousands of American servicemen and women. 

He said Defense Secretary Mark Esper also will issue a joint declaration with the government of Afghanistan.

Trump did not say where the deal would be signed, but it’s been previously reported that it would occur Saturday in Doha, Qatar.

The signing comes after a week in which both U.S.-led forces and the Taliban committed to a reduction in violence. Under the plan being signed, the U.S. is to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan to 8,600 from about 13,000.

Much of the plan remains vague, except to say that American troops will withdraw and that the Taliban promise not to let extremists use the country as a staging ground for attacking the U.S. or its allies. 

Trump did not say where the deal would be signed, but it’s been previously reported that it would occur Saturday in Doha, Qatar.

Time for peace: Mike Pompeo will stand beside the leaders of the militant group whose fights are responsible for thousands of American deaths and who harbored Osama bin Laden before 9/11


Face to face with militants: Mike Pompeo will sign the peace deal with the Taliban in the Qatari capital Doha. Osama bin Laden was under their protection when he plotted 9/11

Within 10 to 15 days after the signing, the Taliban and representatives from all sectors of Afghan society, including the government, are to sit down to try to negotiate the framework of a post-war Afghanistan. Issues on the table include a more permanent cease-fire and the rights of women and minorities.

‘If the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan live up to these commitments, we will have a powerful path forward to end the war in Afghanistan and bring our troops home,’ Trump said in a statement. 

‘These commitments represent an important step to a lasting peace in a new Afghanistan, free from al-Qaeda, ISIS, and any other terrorist group that would seek to bring us harm. ‘

Pompeo did not mention the Afghan agreement as he touted Trump administration foreign policy achievements in a speech to a conservative group Friday. He has expressed doubts about the prospects. 

Yet, he will give his imprimatur to an agreement which he also has said represents ‘a historic opportunity for peace’ after years and pain and suffering.

‘We are now on the cusp of having an opportunity which may not succeed, but an opportunity for the first time to let the Afghan peoples´ voices be heard,’ he told reporters this week. 

More than 20 lawmakers recently wrote a letter to Pompeo and Esper asking for assurances that the U.S.-Taliban agreement will not jeopardize U.S. security.

‘I dealt with a lot of bad guys during my time in the CIA, and one thing I learned is that previous actions are a good indicator of future ones,’ said Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, who served in Afghanistan as an undercover CIA officer. 

‘The war in Afghanistan should come to an end and it’s in the Taliban´s hands to make this happen. However, the Taliban has never demonstrated a willingness to be a real partner in peace.’

Taliban leaders told The Associated Press that if everything goes according to plan, all U.S. soldiers would be out of Afghanistan in 14 months, but Washington has not confirmed such a timeline. The agreement also stipulates the release of 5,000 Taliban from Afghan-run jails, but it’s not clear if the Afghan government will agree to that.

The agreement mapping out a plan for peace follows months of negotiations between the U.S. and the Taliban that have broken down before. The Pentagon has said for months that it is poised to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to 8,600, but U.S. officials have said it could take months for any troop cuts to begin.

‘Nearly 19 years ago, American service members went to Afghanistan to root out the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks,’ Trump said. ‘In that time, we have made great progress in Afghanistan, but at great cost to our brave service members, to the American taxpayers, and to the people of Afghanistan.’

He said that when he first ran for president, he promised voters that he would start bringing troops home and seek an end to the war in Afghanistan. ‘We are making substantial progress on that promise.’

IS THIS THE END AT LAST FOR AMERICA’S LONGEST WAR? FIGHT WITH TALIBAN HAS GONE ON SO LONG THAT YOUNGEST SOLDIERS WERE BORN AFTER CONFLICT STARTED 

America’s longest war may finally be nearing an end.

The United States and the Islamists it toppled from power in Afghanistan are poised to sign a peace deal Saturday after a conflict that outlasted two U.S. commanders in chief and is now led by a third eager to fulfill a campaign promise to extricate America from ‘endless wars.’

More than 18 years since President George W. Bush ordered bombing in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the agreement will set the stage for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, some of whom were not yet born when the World Trade Center collapsed on that crisp, sunny morning that changed how Americans see the world.

Saturday’s ceremony also signals the potential end of a tremendous investment of blood and treasure. The U.S. spent more than $750 billion, and on all sides the war cost tens of thousands of lives lost, permanently scarred and indelibly interrupted. Yet it’s also a conflict that is frequently ignored by U.S. politicians and the American public.

In the Qatari capital of Doha, America´s top diplomat will stand with leaders of the Taliban, Afghanistan’s former rulers who harbored Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network as they plotted, and then celebrated, the hijackings of three airliners that were crashed into lower Manhattan, the Pentagon and a field in western Pennsylvania, killing almost 3,000 people.

It will likely be an uncomfortable appearance for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who privately told a conference of U.S. ambassadors at the State Department this week that he was going only because President Donald Trump had insisted on his participation, according to two people present.

A statement from Trump on Friday said Pompeo will ‘witness’ the signing of the agreement, leaving unclear if he will personally sign it on behalf of the United States, or if he will shake hands with Taliban representatives.

U.S. troops are to be withdrawn to 8,600 from about 13,000 in the weeks following Saturday’s signing. Further drawdowns are to depend on the Taliban meeting certain counter-terrorism conditions, compliance that will be assessed by the United States. But officials say soldiers will be coming home.

Trump, as he seeks re-election this year, is looking to make good on his campaign promise to bring troops home from the Middle East. 

Still, he has approached the Taliban agreement cautiously, steering clear of the crowing surrounding other major foreign policy actions, such as his talks with North Korea.

Last September, on short notice, he called off what was to be a signing ceremony with the Taliban at Camp David after a series of new Taliban attacks. But he has since been supportive of the talks led by his special envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad.

In a statement released by the White House, Trump said Friday that if the Taliban and Afghan governments live up to the commitments in the agreement, ‘we will have a powerful path forward to end the war in Afghanistan and bring our troops home,’

‘These commitments represent an important step to a lasting peace in a new Afghanistan, free from al-Qaida, ISIS and any other terrorist group that would seek to bring us harm,’ Trump said.

Under the agreement, the Taliban promise not to let extremists use the country as a staging ground for attacking the U.S. or its allies. But U.S. officials are loath to trust the Taliban to fulfill their obligations.

If the agreement is successful, Afghanistan, the ‘graveyard of empires’ that has repeatedly repelled foreign invaders from imperial Britain and Russia to the Soviet Union, will have once again successfully turned away a world power from its landlocked borders.

But prospects for Afghanistan’s future are uncertain. The agreement sets the stage for peace talks involving Afghani factions, which are likely to be complicated. 

Under the agreement, 5,000 Taliban are to be released from Afghan-run jails, but it’s not known if the Afghan government will do that. There are also questions about whether Taliban fighters loyal to various warlords will be willing to disarm.

It’s not clear what will become of gains made in women’s rights since the toppling of the Taliban, which had repressed women and girls under a strict brand of Sharia law. Women’s rights in Afghanistan had been a top concern of both the Bush and Obama administration.

In a sign of ‘the international community’s commitment to Afghanistan,’ a separate ceremony will be held Saturday in the Afghan capital of Kabul, with U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, said Sediq Sediqqui, spokesman for Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani.

Already, some U.S. lawmakers and veterans of the conflict have raised red flags about any agreement with the Taliban.

Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming led 21 Republican legislators in demanding that the administration not concede anything to the Taliban that would allow them to once again harbor those who seek to harm U.S. citizens and interests. Cheney, the daughter of former President Bush’s vice president, Dick Cheney, urged Pompeo and Esper in a letter to reject any commitment to a full withdrawal of American troops.

Pompeo said, ‘We´re proud of our gains, but our generals have determined that this war is unlikely to be won militarily without tremendous additional resources. All sides are tired of fighting.’

On this, he is in rare agreement with Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who said this week in a Democratic presidential debate that the government has ‘a sacred responsibility to’ American soldiers. ‘That is not to use our military to solve problems that cannot be solved militarily. We are not winning in Afghanistan. We are not winning in the Middle East,’ she said.   

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