US Senator Lindsey Graham has once again warned that American pulling troops out of Afghanistan would lead to “another 9/11”, saying that America cannot “outsource” its national security to the Taliban.
Mr. Graham issued a similar warning ahead of US President Donald Trump meeting with his security advisors last month where they discussed issues around a possible peace deal with the Taliban – the militant group which is seeking the withdrawal of all US forces from Afghanistan in exchange for ceasefire and intra-Afghan negotiations.
“If we left tomorrow, the Taliban cannot be trusted to take care of ISIS [Daesh] and al-Qaeda,” Graham said in an interview with Fox News on Saturday.
“They don’t have the capability. So when you ask our intelligence community…what would happen to America if we withdrew all of our forces. They tell us without any hesitation it would lead to another 9/11 in a matter of time,” Mr. Graham said in the interview.
This comes as the ninth round of the negotiations between the US and the Taliban on Saturday completed its third day with progress on a full withdrawal of foreign troops within 15 to 20 months as well as counterterrorism assurances from the Taliban side, sources familiar with the talks said.
The sources said the two sides will sign the peace deal within the next few days which will be followed by intra-Afghan negotiations.
As part of a peace deal, the number of US forces will reduce to 5,000 from the current 14,000, sources said. The troops will be withdrawn from five American bases, which according to President Ghani, they are “small bases” and the reduction will not impact the situation of Afghanistan.
A former member of the Taliban said last week that the agreement between the US and the Taliban will be finalized within the next few days as the ninth round of the negotiations began in Doha on Thursday.
Abdul Salam Zaeef, who served as Taliban’s ambassador for Pakistan when the group ruled the country in the late 1990s, told TOLOnews on Friday, August 23, that the deputy leader of the group, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will sign the peace agreement with the United States.
Mr. Zaeef said the US negotiators want to mention in the agreement that the Taliban will not have any relations with terrorist groups after the peace agreement.
The two sides in Doha are expected to discuss ways to implement the peace agreement. A Taliban spokesman said that the US forces top commander Gen. Scott Miller was also present on the first day of the talks in Doha.
Mr. Zaeef said the US and the Taliban have agreed on a full withdrawal of foreign forces in 15 to 24 months and on counterterrorism assurances.