Trump speaks with Taliban leader, says they share goal of ending war in Afghanistan

President Trump spoke with a high Taliban chief by telephone Tuesday about ending the warfare in Afghanistan, the primary recognized direct contact between an American president and the militant motion within the 19 years since U.S. troops entered the nation.

Trump confirmed that he spoke with Taliban political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar after the group first introduced the decision. The Taliban sheltered Osama bin Laden earlier than the terrorist assaults of Sept. 11, 2001, and have killed greater than 2,400 U.S. troopers for the reason that warfare began practically twenty years in the past.

“They’re trying to get this ended, and we’re trying to get it ended,” the president stated after telling reporters, “We had an excellent dialog with the chief of the Taliban at this time.”

Their trade got here three days after the USA and the Taliban signed an settlement that requires U.S. troops to withdraw from Afghanistan inside 14 months if the Taliban adjust to a promise to stop Al Qaeda and different terror teams from utilizing Afghan territory to threaten the U.S.

The apparently unprecedented contact was one other signal of rehabilitation for a gaggle that imposed a harsh model of Islamic legislation in Afghanistan earlier than its 2001 ouster by the U.S. and its NATO allies. The Taliban have been handled as worldwide pariahs by the USA and most different nations till it turned clear they may not be defeated militarily.

Trump implied there could have been earlier contacts. When requested whether or not it was the primary time he had spoken with the Taliban, he stated, “I don’t wish to say that.”

In September, Trump deliberate to ask Baradar and different Taliban leaders to Camp David to finalize a peace deal, however he referred to as off the assembly after a U.S. soldier was killed in Afghanistan. To reporters on Tuesday, he appeared to recommend that it was the U.S.-backed Afghan authorities in Kabul headed by President Ashraf Ghani that was the impediment to finalizing a peace settlement.

“We’ll should see concerning the nation itself, however the nation has acquired to get it ended,” he stated.

Ghani’s authorities was not concerned within the latest talks between U.S. and Taliban negotiators. Lots of its officers are deeply nervous that the Trump administration is intent on forcing them to share energy with the hated Taliban, which has brought on tens of hundreds of Afghan casualties throughout a bloody two-decade insurgency.

Trump didn’t point out Ghani, however he steered he acquired alongside effectively with Baradar, who signed the U.S.-Taliban accord. “The connection is superb that I’ve with the mullah,” he stated.

As president, Trump often has spoken of U.S. relations with different nations by way of his private rapport with their leaders, and his remark was paying homage to earlier statements of heat emotions for American adversaries. He has stated, for instance, that he and North Korean chief Kim Jong Un “fell in love.”

Trump has repeatedly promised to carry troops house from abroad wars and has lengthy sought a global settlement with a number of adversaries, hoping it it would safe him the Nobel Peace Prize to match the one received by former President Obama.

“Different presidents have tried they usually have been unable to get any form of an settlement,” he stated. Obama insisted that any talks with the Taliban needed to be led by the Afghan authorities, a coverage that was deserted by Trump — angering Ghani and his authorities.

Beneath the phrases of the U.S.-Taliban deal, Ghani’s authorities and the Taliban are supposed to start talks in Oslo later this month on a bigger settlement of the battle and a power-sharing settlement between the 2 sides. Already, nonetheless, disagreements are threatening to disrupt the deliberate follow-on talks.

Taliban leaders are insisting on the discharge of as many as 5,000 of their captured fighters held as prisoners by the Kabul authorities, however a number of Afghan officers have stated a prisoner launch isn’t required beneath the deal.

Trump stated the Afghan authorities “could also be reluctant” to launch the prisoners, however implied his endurance at spending billions of {dollars} a yr in navy and financial help was at an finish.

“They’ve executed very effectively with the USA for a few years, far past navy, in the event you have a look at all the cash that we’ve spent in Afghanistan. We’ve spent trillions of {dollars},” he stated, tremendously exaggerating the prices.

Afghan officers additionally stated that assaults by the Taliban have resumed following a weeklong pause in violence earlier than the U.S.-Taliban settlement was signed, elevating one other obstacle to the talks.

In line with the Taliban account of the decision, Trump and Baradar spoke for greater than half an hour and mentioned ladies’s rights and the potential launch of Taliban prisoners.

“I’m glad to speak to you. You’re sturdy individuals and you’ve got an important nation and I do know you might be preventing on your land,” Trump stated within the Taliban account.

Baradar, who is called a relative average within the militant group’s management, stated the U.S. and the Taliban may have “constructive bilateral relations sooner or later” if the U.S. abides by the settlement.

The White Home, in a later assertion, didn’t dispute the Taliban account. On Saturday Trump stated that he deliberate to satisfy with Taliban leaders quickly, however he supplied no particulars.

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