Nearly a year after President Donald Trump said the U.S. is losing the Afghan war, U.S. diplomats and commanders have held direct talks with the Taliban, gambling on a bid to kick-start peace negotiations, current and former U.S. officials told NBC News.
The two sides met about a week ago and plan to meet again, U.S. diplomats and Taliban sources said. The Taliban to this point has welcomed American overtures.
Trump reluctantly signed off on sending several thousand more troops to Afghanistan last year, but he remains skeptical about the mission, and U.S. officials are worried he could pull the plug without warning.
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"Just because he signed on to this policy in August, most of the people who work for him have no trust and confidence that he'll stick to his policies," said one former senior U.S. official familiar with administration discussions, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Trump administration hasn't confirmed or denied discussions with the Taliban but acknowledged a U.S. delegation that visited Qatar a week ago.