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Report: Trump’s National Security Team Splinters Over Taliban Meeting Trump’s National Security Team Splinters Ove...
The collapse of U.S. President Donald Trump’s plans for a potentially historic summit at Camp David with Taliban leadership and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani reveals new fractures in his foreign-policy team as a lasting peace deal for the war-torn country appears ever more elusive.
Trump’s impromptu plan to invite leaders of the Afghan insurgent group to the presidential retreat at the same time as the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks set off heated deliberations last week between the members of his national security team, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo supporting the move and National Security Advisor John Bolton arguing against it.
The internal discussions leading up to the president’s last-minute decision to scrap the meeting this weekend shed light on the evolving dynamic among the members of Trump’s national security team since Defense Secretary Mark Esper was confirmed to the top Pentagon job in July. They also reflect significant hurdles ahead for Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special representative for Afghan reconciliation, even as an impatient president looks to make good on his campaign promise to bring troops home from America’s forever wars before the 2020 presidential election.
In discussions last week, Trump’s national security apparatus was divided, current and former officials say. The Pentagon in particular has long been skeptical the negotiations will ever lead to a deal the insurgent group will uphold, said officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive conversations.
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