Paul Ryan on Trump’s Speech on Afghanistan Strategy: We Can Negotiate with the Taliban

REUTERS/LUCAS JACKSON
REUTERS/LUCAS JACKSON

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) weighed in at a town hall meeting with CNN from Wisconsin on Monday following President Donald Trump’s speech on the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, saying that the United States could negotiate with the Taliban going forward.

Calling it the “new Trump doctrine,” Ryan said that when a certain stability is reached in Afghanistan, the United States can use diplomacy, including sitting down at the table with the Taliban, which U.S. intelligence has connected to the September, 2011 terrorist attack on the United States that killed 3,000 innocent people on American soil.

Ryan said he was “looking forward” to “the moment” when the U.S. will be negotiating with the terrorist group when asked by CNN host Jake Tapper about President Donald Trump’s prime time speech on the new U.S. policy on the war in Afghanistan.

Ryan said the “Taliban and the Afghan government will reconcile.”

Ryan also praised Trump for not spelling out details about the new Afghanistan policy, including announcing how many U.S. troops will be deployed in Afghanistan and when they would be deployed.

We should not “telegraph to our enemies” our plans, Ryan said at the town hall, adding that U.S. strategy in Afghanistan has been a yearly strategy instead of a longer-range plan, which he said he thinks Trump will put in place.

Ryan also said the United States could not ignore safe havens for terrorists, likely referring to Trump’s tough talk about Pakistan in his nationally televised speech and its role in providing those safe havens, including the mastermind of 9/11, Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Ryan said the U.S. has “learned some good lessons” over the long war in Afghanistan and he said he supports Trump’s announced plan.

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