WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump has said that he wants to get out of Afghanistan “as quickly as he can” and to further stress his point he said that the United States should have never engaged in these “crazy wars”.
“We’ll continue to [pull out troops from Afghanistan]. Well, we’re going to see … we want to get out as quickly as we can,” President Trump said in an interview to C-Span television network. “I want to get out of these crazy wars that we should’ve never been in.”
The US president said that his aides were also “working on a deal [with the Taliban] right now” and hoped that it would lead to a resolution that allows the withdrawal of US troops from the war- ravaged country.
On Thursday, a Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen also said that the United States and the Taliban rebels were close to finalising the deal they have been negotiating for the last eight months. He hoped the deal would end the foreign military presence in Afghanistan, though he ruled out an immediate ceasefire.
“We are getting close,” the spokesperson told journalists by telephone from Taliban’s political office in Doha. Negotiators were “close on wording of an agreement on all major issues”, he added.
In Washington, the US State Department announced that Secretary of State Michael Pompeo telephoned Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday and the two leaders agreed that “now is the time to accelerate efforts to reach a negotiated end to the war”.
Mr Pompeo also stressed this point in a Fox News interview, adding that he expects “real progress” in reaching agreement by September on “a complete reduction in the scope of the conflict”.
This would include an intra-Afghan peace talks, in which the Afghan government would also participate and the next step would be the start of a withdrawal of US and allied forces from Afghanistan, he added.
In remarks at the Economic Club of Washington earlier this week, Mr Pompeo suggested that Mr Trump wants to resolve the Afghan issue before the 2020 presidential election.
Published in Dawn, August 2nd, 2019