US President Donald Trump and Pompeo were joined for the talks by Vice President Mike Pence, national security adviser John Bolton, Defense Secretary Mike Esper, Joint Chiefs Chairman General Joseph Dunford and CIA Director Gina Haspel regarding the Afghan peace process.
President Donald Trump was briefed on Friday by top national security advisers on the status of negotiations with the Taliban on a U.S. troop pullout from Afghanistan and the potential for a political settlement between the warring sides, according to Reuters.
There was no indication that any conclusions were reached at the session, which took place in a secure conference room at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
“Just completed a very good meeting on Afghanistan. Many on the opposite side of this 19 year war, and us, are looking to make a deal – if possible!” Trump said in a tweet after the session.
But there are deep concerns among national security aides about negotiations led by U.S. special representative to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, who updated Trump and others on the status of the talks.
A pullout has raised fears within the U.S. military and among some lawmakers that Afghanistan could plunge into a new civil war that could see a return of Taliban rule and give al Qaeda and other militants a sanctuary in which to expand and plot new attacks on U.S. and allied targets.
Meanwhile, a U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said significant differences remained between the United States and the Taliban after an eighth round of talks ended in Qatar on Monday.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement issued after the meeting that the United States remains committed “achieving a comprehensive peace agreement, including a reduction in violence and a ceasefire” in Afghanistan.
“The meeting went very well, and negotiations are proceeding,” the White House said in a statement.
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally, said any deal should allow the United States to maintain a military presence in Afghanistan to pursue such groups.
“Any peace agreement which denies the U.S. a robust counter-terrorism capability in Afghanistan is not a peace deal,” he said in a statement. “Instead, it is paving the way for another attack on the American homeland and attacks against American interests around the world.”
A senior administration official said a decision was not necessarily expected from the Bedminster meeting, but Trump “has been pretty clear that he wants to bring the troops home