President Donald Trump has spoken on the telephone with a Taliban leader, the first known conversation between a U.S. president and a top Taliban official.
Tuesday's call, which the Taliban said lasted 35 minutes, came days after the United States and the Taliban signed an agreement calling for the withdrawal of American troops - allowing Trump to make progress on a key campaign pledge to extract the U.S. from 'endless wars' and paving the way for all-Afghan talks to begin on Tuesday.
Trump confirmed Tuesday that he spoke on the phone to a Taliban leader, making him the first U.S. president believed to ever speak directly with the militant group that harbored al-Qaida before the 9/11 attacks and is responsible for the deaths of thousands of U.S. troops in nearly 19 years of fighting in Afghanistan.
'We had a very good conversation with the leader of the Taliban today, and they're looking to get this ended, and we're looking to get it ended. I think we all have a very common interest,' Trump said. 'We had, actually, a very good talk with the leader of the Taliban.'
President Donald Trump has spoken on the telephone with a Taliban leader, the first known conversation between a U.S. president and a top Taliban official
Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar leaves after signing an agreement with the United States during a ceremony in the Qatari capital Doha on Saturday
Earlier, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid tweeted that the president had spoken on the phone with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a co-founder of the Taliban and head of their political office in Qatar.
'The relationship is very good that I have with the mullah,' Trump said. 'We had a good long conversation today and, you know, they want to cease the violence. They'd like to cease violence also.'
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo witnessed the agreement, which was signed last Saturday in Doha, Qatar, by chief negotiators from the two sides.
According to the deal, all 13,000 U.S. troops will leave Afghanistan within 14 months if the Taliban meet their obligations to America. Those promises are tied to fighting terrorism, preventing Afghanistan from becoming a haven for terrorists, denouncing terrorist groups, severing past links with the likes of al-Qaida and helping fight the Islamic State group affiliate.
It also envisioned talks between Afghans on both sides of the conflict starting March 10, most likely in Oslo, Norway. But so far there's no confirmation that important next step will take place. The U.S. withdrawal is not tied to Afghanistan's warring sides figuring out how to talk to each other, let alone coming to an