GOP lawmaker on Trump-Taliban meeting: 'I don't know how that went through the good idea filter'
Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Bolton out as national security adviser GOP lawmaker on Trump-Taliban meeting: ‘I don’t know how that went through the good idea filter’ Taliban talks ‘dead’ after Trump’s surprise Camp David plan MORE (R-Ill.), criticized President TrumpDonald John Trump5 things to watch in critical NC race Remembering 9/11: How the suicide attacks led to two vastly different wars Conservative strategist calls Steyer’s 2020 bid a ‘vanity run’ MORE‘s planned meeting with Taliban leaders on American soil, which Trump canceled over the weekend, just days before the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
“To bring Taliban leaders … to Camp David, not that far from New York City, a couple days prior to 9/11, I don’t know how that went through the good idea filter and made it as far as it did,” Kinzinger told CNN Tuesday.
The Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran said he was glad the president called the Taliban peace talks “dead” on Monday.
“Hopefully more Taliban are dead because of this,” he said.
Kinzinger told CNN that, in general, he does not support negotiating with terrorists, but because of the length of the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, he doesn’t think talking to the Taliban specifically should be out of the question.
He added that the United States would need to negotiate from a position of strength.
The president had scheduled a secret meeting with the Taliban in the United States before it was canceled Saturday after the group took ownership of an attack that killed 12 people, including a U.S. soldier.
“Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, they admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great great soldiers, and 11 other people. I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations,” Trump tweeted. “What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position?”
Trump had been working to negotiate with the group for nearly a year in the hopes of scaling back the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The president has sought to curtail or end U.S. involvement in foreign wars, though military leaders continue to warn against a precipitous American withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Last week, the president seemed close to a deal where the United States would remove 5,000 troops and five bases in 135 days. In exchange, the Taliban would not allow terrorist groups to plan attacks against the United States in Afghanistan.
Kinzinger added that he is concerned Trump’s campaign-promised withdrawal focuses more on the election than national security.
“I have to look and say, ‘Would I be critical of President Obama if he did this?’ and I have to be equally fair to everybody,” he said. “And I would have been critical and I have been critical of President Obama in some of his moves in Afghanistan.”
The Illinois representative also said the United States’s involvement in Afghanistan focuses primarily on peacekeeping, which he called “minor cost to prevent another attack on the homeland.”
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