US President Donald Trump is expected to meet with his top national security advisers on Friday to review a US-Taliban peace plan that could end America’s longest war in Afghanistan, CNN reported.
Trump is expected to meet at his Bedminster golf resort with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton, according to two sources familiar with the planning, CNN added in the report.
CNN quotes several defense officials saying that US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford are expected to be present.
CNN also quotes other sources saying that the major topic will be Afghanistan and the plan that US chief negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad, has been working on for months to end the conflict in Afghanistan.
Sources quoted by CNN say that the peace plan is expected to formalize a significant withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan -- from about 15,000 troops to 8,000 or 9,000 troops -- and enshrine official commitments by the Taliban to counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan.
The Eighth Round of Talks
The US and the Taliban negotiators wrapped up the eighth round of talks in Doha on August 12 which are amid at reaching a potential peace deal that will help reduce violence in Afghanistan, facilitate intra-Afghan talks and a ceasefire between the warring sides.
The talks are also aimed at ending the 18 years of conflict which has taken thousands of lives from the Afghan civilian population and military personnel.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said on Twitter on August 12 that he has concluded the talks which began on August 3 and that they were productive.
He said he is returning to Washington D.C. for consultations on next steps in the peace process.
Mr. Khalilzad said that the US is “working hard toward a lasting and honorable peace agreement and a sovereign Afghanistan which poses no threat to any other country”.
On August 12, a Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said in a tweet that negotiators from the two sides are now reaching their leaders to consult about the details of the topics which came under discussion in the recent talks between the US Special Representative and the Taliban delegation.