US Senator Lindsey Graham on Friday made several remarks about the ongoing Peace Process for Afghanistan and showed concern about the nature of negotiations between US and Taliban, saying that American soldiers in Afghanistan are not acting as policemen, but are the front-line defense for America against the reemergence of radical Islamist groups who wish to attack the American homeland.
“To trust the Taliban to control Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other radical Islamist groups present in Afghanistan – as a replacement for a US counter-terrorism force – would be a bigger mistake than Obama’s Iranian nuclear deal”, he tweeted.
Graham pointed out that any peace agreement which denies the US robust counter-terrorism capability in Afghanistan is not a peace deal, and is instead making its the way for another attack on the American homeland and attacks against American interests around the world. He also said that any agreement which denies the US the ability to have a meaningful counter-terrorism force capability – based on conditions on the ground for as long as needed – “is a recipe for disaster”.
“I hope the President [Trump] and his team make sound and sustainable decisions about radical Islamist threats emanating from Afghanistan – the place where 9/11 originated”, Graham noted.
He also called on US President Donald Trump to learn from former President Obama’s mistakes. He also remarked that a bad agreement puts the radical Islamist movement all over the “world on steroids”.
“Be smart, take your time, and listen to your national security team. Look forward to having congressional hearings and reviewing, debating, and voting on any proposed peace agreement with the Taliban that affects America’s future presence in Afghanistan”, Graham added.
He highlighted the importance of any agreement being fully vetted and understood by Congress and the American people.
On Thursday, Trump tweeted that he completed “a very good meeting on Afghanistan”, and said that many on the opposite side of the long war and his side are looking to make a deal. To this, Senator Graham responded by saying that as much as he shares President Trump’s “hope” that US can honorably end the war in Afghanistan with the Taliban, he is certain that al-Qaeda, ISIS, and other radical Islamic groups are not interested in the war ending.
“Must have robust counterterrorism force with intel capability no matter what Taliban demands in order to protect the USA”, Graham conceded.
Trump and senior members of his Cabinet, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence, were reportedly planning to meet on Friday to discuss ongoing negotiations with the Taliban, led by Afghan-born former U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, and whether the U.S. would begin withdrawing at least some of its 14,000 forces currently in Afghanistan.
Talks with the Taliban have centered on its renouncing al-Qaida and agreeing to a cease-fire. The insurgent group has so far refused to agree to a key point of its recognizing the U.S.-backed government in Kabul, which it considers a U.S. puppet administration.