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Last week US President Donald Trump assembled his advisors in the Situation Room read to announce a peace plan with the Taliban.

For months, Trump’s foreign policy team has seen a rift grow between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton. The two have been in a battle of competing instincts for Trump, who enjoys a tough talk with the promise of winding down America’s wars.

Negotiations with the Taliban

During the discussion for the terms of an agreement, Pompeo and his negotiators, Zalmay Khalilzad, came with a suggestion that will see US troops leave Afghanistan but with a commitment for the Taliban not to harbor terrorists. Bolton, however, weighed from Warsaw stating that the president would keep his campaign promise of withdrawing US troops with going into bed with killers swathed in American blood.

The president did not immediately make a decision, but during the meeting, it was suggested that negotiations be finalized in Washington. This was a prospect that played to Trump’s liking for theatrical spectacle. He could later suggest that he would invite Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani to the talks and get him to sign. Ashraf has not been a party to the talks.

Trump made a remarkable suggestion that he could bring the Taliban to Camp David. This began an ad hoc diplomatic bickering which escalated the talks into a twitter storm. What happened is characteristic of this presidency where Trump is seen as always ready to defy conventions to achieve what other presidents didn’t achieve. Trump dispensed the typical National Security process, and only a few advisers were aware of the developments.

A deal is almost certain

Since he assumed office, Trump has been keen on ending the Afghan war which he sees as a signature accomplishment to help his 2020 re-election. Former ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad has engaged the Taliban to make it happen.

A deal is certain with the 14,000 American troops expected to leave gradually within 135 days. The Taliban will then offer counterterrorism assurances to ease American suspicions of a reaper of September 11.