Green Beret Congressman Mike Waltz: President Trump Right to Call Off Talks with Taliban

Men bury Sayed Sarwar Hussaini, the spokesperson of the Kunduz Police headquarters, who was killed in a suicide attack on Saturday, in Kunduz province, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019. The Taliban attacked a second Afghan city in as many days on Sunday and killed several members of …
AP Photo/Bashir Khan Safi

Green Beret and Afghanistan War veteran Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL) said President Trump made the right call over the weekend when he decided to call off peace talks with the Taliban.

Waltz wrote in an op-ed published Monday:

President Trump made the right call this weekend when he decided to call off peace talks in Afghanistan. For months, the Taliban has assured the State Department it will promote ‘peace’ and Afghanistan will no longer be a haven for terrorists. That couldn’t be further from the truth – and current events have made that abundantly clear.

“Just last week, the Taliban committed a suicide bombing that killed at least 16 civilians and wounded 119 people, with a U.S. soldier among these casualties. In July, the Taliban killed four Afghan security forces and a U.S. service member at a hotel,” he wrote.

“All these attacks have occurred as the Taliban sat at the negotiating table and promised peace but refused to enter into a nation-wide cease-fire,” he added.

Trump tweeted Sunday that the Taliban were going to come to Camp David on Sunday but that he was canceled the meeting and peace negotiations after the Taliban admitted to an attack that killed a U.S. soldier and 11 others.

Waltz said the deal that was being negotiated would have made things worse for Afghanistan and the world.

“I understand the desire to get out of Afghanistan. No one wants peace more than the veterans like me who have lived these wars, fought them and lost fellow soldiers and friends on the battlefield,” he wrote.

“Instead of bringing peace to Afghanistan, this deal would have risked making the situation in Afghanistan far worse – and its impacts could have catastrophic effects not only for the country but for the world,” he said.

Waltz argued that if Afghanistan were to slide back into chaos, it would would drag Pakistan down with it, and with more foreign-based terrorist organizations operating along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border than any other place in the world, it would be difficult for the Taliban to prevent terrorists from operating in Afghanistan.

He also argued the timing of negotiations would have undermined the Afghan government, with presidential elections just around the corner. The Afghan government was not yet a party to the U.S.-Taliban negotiations, which had been going on for months.

“More concerning is the Afghan National Government’s exclusion from these negotiations. By not giving the Afghan Government a place at the table, we’ve totally undercut its legitimacy, doing so on the eve of Afghanistan’s presidential elections,” he said.

He said he if Trump does begin negotiations again, he hoped he would maintain the conditions-based strategy the administration announced two years ago, and would continue building the Afghan National Army.

“President Trump was smart to cancel peace talks with the Taliban. He is holding the Taliban’s feet to the fire. He is leading in foreign policy where his predecessor failed,” Waltz wrote.

 

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