Trump chatted with Taliban leaders on secret U.S. kill-or-capture list

For some in American national security and diplomatic circles, it was a climax in a frustrating, years-long peace process. For others, it was also a worrisome event—not because of what Trump said but because of who, exactly, he spoke with. Some of the Taliban leaders on the other end of the line were also on secret U.S. kill-or-capture lists. The commander in chief was chatting with people his government officially still wanted jailed or dead, two Defense Department sources told The Daily Beast.

Of course, any peace initiative is going to require talking with one’s enemies—and this call was no exception. But some U.S. defense officials insisted that this was a step too far, and a sign of what they see as a slapdash approach to ending America’s involvement in the Afghan conflict…

“It’s ground-shaking that the president spoke to individuals on a target list,” said a senior Defense Department official. “It was a big give from our side, towards an adversary that traditionally has never held up their side of the bargain in numerous other attempts towards de-escalation and peace. We made a group that lacks absolute operational control over their forces a legitimate player on the world stage.”