Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday defended President Donald Trump’s plan to host Taliban leadership and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at Camp David.
Pompeo discussed the situation with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace, arguing that Camp David had traditionally been used as a neutral location for negotiations with a number of less-than-pleasant actors on the world stage. (RELATED: Pompeo Hits Media Over Obsessing Over Trump’s Foreign Oppo Comment)
Wallace began by asking Pompeo whether he thought the optics of hosting the Taliban at Camp David — especially a week before 9/11 — would be a concern.
“Who thought it was a good idea for the President of the United States — you had an agreement in principle already, your envoy meeting with Taliban leaders, fine, who thought it was a good idea for the president of the United States to meet with Taliban leaders who have the blood of thousands of Americans on their hands just three days before 9/11?” Wallace asked.
Pompeo responded by invoking Camp David’s long history as the focal point of negotiations between the United States and a number of bad actors on the world stage. “We know the history of Camp David,” Pompeo said. “We reflected on that as we were thinking about how to deliver for the American people.”
Pompeo added that he believed that the president was right to want to talk face-to-face with both Taliban leadership and President Ghani and that he was also right to halt negotiations as long as the Taliban was taking credit for the recent suicide attack that killed 12, including one American soldier.
“You know the history of Camp David,” Pompeo continued. “Lots of bad folks have come through that place, there have been lots of peace negotiations taking place. It’s almost always the case, Chris, that you don’t get to negotiate with good guys. The reason you’re in negotiations, to end wars, to end conflicts, to end violence, to reduce risk to the Iraqi people, is almost always because the person across the table isn’t exactly the finest.”
Army Ranger veteran and author Sean Parnell spoke to the Daily Caller on Sunday, agreeing with Pompeo’s assertion that negotiations with the Taliban, while unsavory, were necessary. (RELATED: Sean Parnell On ‘All Out War’)
“We have to be willing to talk to and negotiate with the Taliban to bring about an end to conflict there,” Parnell explained. “When total war, destruction of an enemy, and as a consequence a nation (think Nazi Germany) is off the table, then diplomacy must always remain on the table; otherwise conflict, war and death will go on in perpetuity.”
Parnell, who served in combat in Afghanistan and is well aware of the Taliban’s capabilities, continued, “I hate having to talk to them. More than anyone else in the world, but it’s a necessary evil. Can we trust them? No. We can’t. But we have to try.”
“But that said, a ceasefire is non-negotiable,” voicing support for the president’s decision to halt the talks in the wake of the most recent suicide attack. “Not a single America or Afghan should die during these peace talks.”