US intel says Taliban won't honor agreement with US, even as Trump says they 'really want to make a deal'
Afghan Taliban fighters.
- Intelligence indicates the Taliban does not plan to comply with a peace deal it reached with the US, according to NBC News.
- Three US officials familiar with the intelligence said the it was convincing, with one saying the Taliban has "no intention of abiding by their agreement."
- The report comes nearly a week after President Donald Trump agreed to a partial-truce with the group.
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Intelligence obtained by the US indicates the Taliban does not plan to comply with an agreement it signed with the US, according to an NBC News report published Friday.
Three US officials familiar with the intelligence reportedly said it was convincing, with one saying that the Taliban has "no intention of abiding by their agreement."
"We all hope they follow through with their side of the agreement, but we believe we know their true intentions," an official told NBC News.
The report comes nearly a week after President Donald Trump agreed to a partial truce with the group. The agreement was predicated on the lowering of violence throughout the country and the release of 1,000 Afghan security forces members held by the Taliban in exchange for 5,000 Taliban prisoners held by the Afghan government.
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani said he would not agree to to the release of prisoners, which has thrown a wrench in the agreement. Violence throughout the country continued after the signing, despite cautious optimism expressed by Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The US military launched its first airstrike in weeks against the Taliban early Wednesday, one day after President Donald Trump said he had a "good talk" with the group. A US military spokesperson said the attack was "defensive" and was launched to counter a Taliban assault against US-backed Afghan government forces in southern Helmand province.
"We know that the road ahead will be difficult," Pompeo said Thursday. "We expected it. We were right. The upsurge in violence in parts of Afghanistan over the last couple days is unacceptable. In no uncertain terms violence must be reduced immediately for the peace process to move forward."
Separate Taliban sources in Pakistan said the agreement with the US was merely a way for them to rid US "occupiers" from Afghanistan and that they would eventually attack government forces in the country, according to NBC News.
"We will ask the Afghan leadership and other political factions that since the US has accepted us and recognized our position, it is time for you to accept us and give us the country peacefully," a Taliban member told NBC News.
On Thursday evening at a Fox News town hall, Trump said the Taliban "really want to make a deal."
"We've been there for 20 years," Trump said. "We could win that war very easily, but I don't feel like killing millions of people to do it."
"We want our people to come back home," he added.
Critics of the deal warned that it heavily favored the Taliban and that the US pulling out would be disastrous in the long run.
"Having led all US and NATO forces in Afghanistan from 2011-13, I have my own perspective on this agreement, which is grounded in practical, lived experience," retired Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, president of the Brookings Institution, wrote in a blog post for the think tank.
"As I've said publicly, the Taliban are untrustworthy; their doctrine is irreconcilable with modernity and the rights of women; and in practice, they're incapable of summoning the necessary internal controls and organizational discipline needed to implement a far-flung agreement like this," Allen added.
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