The ongoing negotiations between the US and the Taliban are a “charade” designed simply to provide the US a “face-saving way out of Afghanistan,” former CIA deputy director Michael Morell said.

Iran Press/Asia: The Trump administration wants to move quickly toward a deal to end the war in Afghanistan. But Morell, who now hosts the Intelligence Matters podcast, is one of several experts and former officials warning that such a deal won’t secure peace.

“The president has said the Taliban is tired. That’s not true. The Taliban controls more territory than at any time since the 9/11 attacks and it seeks what it has always sought: to fully control Afghanistan as a one-party state,” Morell contends.

He says a recent Taliban video justifies the 9/11 attacks based on “interventionist” US policies — and threatens “vengeance” against Afghan security forces — “represents [the Taliban's] true views” more clearly than anything US negotiators have learned otherwise.

Despite the US red line that Afghanistan never again be used as a base for international terrorism, Morell says the Taliban would welcome al-Qaeda back into the country after a US withdrawal.

“This argument I’m making — that the Taliban is going to take over, al-Qaeda is going to have a safe haven — is exactly the argument the president made to stay in Afghanistan two years ago," Morell says. “But we all know… [then-Defense Secretary] Jim Mattis kind of dragged him kicking and screaming to that, and the president wants out.”

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said Thursday that the administration is “committed to” getting a peace deal, though she wouldn’t confirm reports of a September deadline.


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