Pentagon Chief Provides Few Details on Pending Afghanistan Deal

Claims negotiation still ongoing 'in some ways'

Defense Secretary Mark Esper was the latest US official to discuss the draft peace agreement with the Taliban in Afghanistan on Wednesday, and he was no more helpful about specifics than the other officials who came before him.

Esper seemed to go out of his way to not provide a lot of specific details about what the deal actually says, saying in particular that with negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad still in the region he feels the need to limit his comments on what by all other indications was a finalized deal. Esper even claimed that negotiation is still ongoing “in some ways.”

Esper did reiterate the plan to withdraw 5,000 troops in 135 days, the first stage of the pullout, and that President Trump still had to approve the pact before it was actually signed. These were, of course, both signs established days ago.

Esper added that he planned to meet with NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg later in the day to discuss the deal, which almost certainly is going to include more substantive discussion of the actual deal. He did confirm US and NATO forces would withdraw “together.”

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of