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Transcript: Zalmay Khalilzad on “Face the Nation,” October 24, 2021


The next is a transcript of an interview with Zalmay Khalilzad, Former U.S. Particular Consultant for Afghanistan Reconciliation that aired Sunday, October 24,2021, on “Face the Nation.”


MARGARET BRENNNAN: The chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s victory there has left many questions on whether or not Individuals are literally safer now. Till a number of days in the past, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad was the Biden administration’s high envoy, negotiating immediately with the Taliban. He brokered the Trump period cope with the Taliban, through which the US promised to withdraw all U.S. forces, and he joins us now for his first tv interview. Welcome to this system.

FMR. US ENVOY FOR AFGHANISTAN ZAL KHALILZAD: It is nice to be with you, MARGARET.

MARGARET BRRENNAN: The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Workers, Mark Milley, mentioned this was a strategic failure, the top of America’s longest struggle. He mentioned, “The enemy is now in cost in Kabul.” Do you share that view?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, I believe there’s lots of anger and lots of resentment about what has occurred there. I believe with regard to terrorism, we largely have achieved that goal. On the problem of constructing a democratic Afghanistan – I believe that- that didn’t succeed. The wrestle goes on. The Talibs are a actuality of Afghanistan. We didn’t defeat them. In reality, they have been making progress on the battlefield whilst we have been negotiating with them. And the explanation we negotiated with them was as a result of militarily issues weren’t going in addition to we’d have favored. We have been dropping floor annually. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: They have been successful the struggle.

KHALILZAD: Slowly however making progress. And for us to reverse the progress that they have been making was going to require much more effort.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What number of Individuals stay in Afghanistan at present?

KHALILZAD: We aren’t positive, the frank reply is, as a result of not each American– a few of them are Afghan Individuals who’ve households there, who reside there and that–

MARGARET BRENNAN: It is tons of, is not it?

KHALILZAD: I believe it’s extremely seemingly that it will be in tons of, however we do not know. The reality of the matter is, we do not know.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The UN has given some fairly dire projections of what is taking place inside Afghanistan proper now. Greater than 1,000,000 kids might die of malnutrition within the subsequent 12 months. The Taliban has nonetheless not allowed women aged 12 and older to return to highschool. They might say one thing, however they don’t seem to be doing it. There are movies of ladies being crushed within the streets, simply demonstrating for his or her rights. I imply, is not this proof that the Taliban has no intention of changing into a democratic authorities or any sort of authorities that protects human rights?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, there is no query that the Taliban have a special imaginative and prescient for Afghanistan. It is their imaginative and prescient of a extra Islamic authorities than existed earlier than. And there’s clearly disputes in regards to the interpretation of Islam.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Little women going to highschool?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, I believe there’s a disagreement contained in the Taliban. That is why I believe that we won’t say all Taliban behave in the identical manner. There are factions inside it. Proper now, for instance, in a minimum of three or 4 provinces, excessive colleges for women have been opened. They usually say the identical will occur so far as the remainder of the nation is worried. And we should always maintain them to that, maintain strain on them. In the event that they don’t– Taliban do not transfer towards extra inclusiveness, respecting the rights of the Afghan folks, after which honoring their dedication to us on terrorism; there can be no transfer in the direction of normalcy and there should not be. There needs to be no launch of funds. So their economic system might collapse and in that collapse a brand new civil struggle might begin. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do they know the place the chief of Al-Qaeda is? The UN says he is residing in Afghanistan.

KHALILZAD: Nicely, the report that I’ve seen signifies he may very well be in Afghanistan or adjoining territories.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Ayman al-Zawahiri.–

KHALILZAD: –al-Zawahiri. I do not know whether or not the Taliban realize it. The Taliban that I handled, they informed me they didn’t know the place he was.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You didn’t embrace the Afghan authorities within the deal between the U.S. and Taliban. That was a later step that you just promised to to incorporate them, however for the deal you brokered…

KHALILZAD: Proper.

MARGARET BRENNAN: H.R. McMaster, retired common, former nationwide safety adviser to President Trump, mentioned you- you brokered a give up deal. How do you reply to that?

KHALILZAD: The explanation for the deal, to my pal Common McMaster and others, is as a result of we weren’t successful the struggle. How lengthy does Common McMaster assume we should always proceed whereas dropping floor annually? Why- why- why was that the case after 20 years? That with a lot funding, a lot lack of life that we have been dropping floor to the Talibs, and the choice was both a negotiated settlement or extra of the identical. And folks manner above my pay grade determined extra of the identical is just not acceptable anymore. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: As a result of the American public had misplaced the need to combat.

KHALILZAD: And- and the combat wasn’t going proper. The combat was not going proper after 20 years.

MARGARET BRENNAN: However on the precise level of one of many issues within the deal. Why did the Trump administration comply with the Taliban’s demand that 5000 prisoners be launched? 5000 prisoners who might very simply find yourself proper on that battlefield?

KHALILZAD: Proper?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Why did you try this earlier than peace talks?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, that- the Taliban, as a way to sit with the federal government, to barter, wished some confidence-building measures from each side. Their demand was all prisoners be launched by each side as a goodwill gesture as they have been going to sit down collectively on the desk to barter peace.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What do they want potential fighters for in the event that they’re negotiating peace?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, however they have been giving up fighters additionally, as a result of there was an alternate of prisoners, not a launch, one sided launch. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: The Ghani authorities was not supportive of your work. 

KHALILZAD: I used to be representing america to hold out the president’s route. However I imagine the most important problem was that President Ghani and some different Afghan leaders didn’t imagine that we have been critical about withdrawal for a very long time, and so they like the established order in comparison with a political settlement through which they won’t have the roles that they’d and- and the assets that the US was offering wouldn’t be there. They most popular the established order to a political settlement.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But when america is promising primarily to ship the Afghan authorities and to make this deal occur, wasn’t it diplomatic malpractice–

KHALILZAD: No.

MARGARET BRENNAN –for the secretary of state to not be holding Ghani’s hand strolling him via this? Should not Mike Pompeo have been doing that? Should not Tony Blinken have been doing that?

KHALILZAD: Each of them spent lots of time with uh– President Ghani to take the negotiation severely to imagine that we were–

MARGARET BRENNAN: How was extra arm twisting not taking place then, if all of the blame is to go on the Ghani government–

KHALILZAD: I imagine myself, now that you have requested, that moderately than that, we pressed Ghani an excessive amount of, it is my judgment that we did not press him exhausting sufficient. That we– 

MARGARET BRENNAN: So the Trump administration might have pushed tougher.

KHALILZAD: We might have pushed tougher. I imagine looking back, my judgment is that we might have pressed President Ghani tougher.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Secretary Blinken has mentioned he inherited the- President Biden inherited this deal and never a plan to execute it? 

KHALILZAD: Proper.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Whose job was that?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, I believe that they did inherit a-a-a the settlement. Little doubt they’d that chance to try it. They usually did. They may have made a wide range of choices with regard to that settlement. They determined to stay with the withdrawal provisions.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Why wasn’t there a greater plan in place from the Trump administration or crafted by the Biden administration to execute what you placed on paper?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, this execution of the final section was not a navy withdrawal that went awry. It was the response of the Afghan folks to- what was taking place that created the scenes on the airport. It was a mixture of worry and alternative. Worry, as a result of for a very long time, everyone was saying, together with some officers, that when the Talibs come into Kabul, there could be a horrible struggle. Avenue to avenue preventing, destruction of the town. So folks have been afraid, that was one. Two, the impression was created that anybody who could make it to the airport, whether or not you have got paperwork or not, you’d be evacuated to america and to-to Europe. That mixture led to this flood of individuals to come back to the airport and trigger the- the- the horrible scenes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Is there blame to be borne by President Biden and his diplomats who you have been working with?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, I imagine that- that the diplomats labored very exhausting. The president made the choice that he did to not pursue a condition-based method, however simply the calendar-based method, due to a perception that should you pursue a situation primarily based method – that the Afghan should negotiate and are available to an settlement first – that we’ll be caught there for a very long time.

MARGARET BRENNAN: In your resignation letter, you mentioned, “This didn’t prove as you envisaged.”

KHALILZAD: Proper. I’d have wished- I’d have favored to see a negotiated settlement.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Why wasn’t there a plan in place, a minimum of on the counterterrorism entrance, to cope with the Taliban, to speak to the Taliban?

KHALILZAD: Nicely we did discuss to the Taliban. We have now a set of agreements with them, a few of which haven’t been launched but, on what they are going to do on the terrorism entrance. We maintain them accountable to these agreements. And–

MARGARET BRENNAN: So –  I am sorry – as a result of the administration says that these agreements should not in place, which is why they’re making an attempt to construct these relationships now with the Taliban–

KHALILZAD: No no, there’s an settlement in place. There’s settlement in place with the Taliban on terrorism and counterterrorism. However–

MARGARET: To do what? 

KHALILZAD: Nicely, that they won’t host. They won’t permit fundraising. They won’t permit coaching. They won’t permit recruitment of- by people or teams that can threaten the safety of america and our allies, together with Al Qaeda. However since we do not belief them, and since we determined to go away, we will try this from past Afghanistan. And that is what stays a vital mission.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you assume Individuals are safer now?

KHALILZAD: The terrorist menace from Afghanistan is just not what it was. The American folks needs to be happy — not with the best way the ultimate section occurred, all of us are sad with that — however that the Afghan struggle is over for america. The burden has been diminished, that we achieved the objective of the devastating Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: The CIA says al Qaeda might reconstitute in as little as a 12 months inside Afghanistan.

KHALILZAD: Nicely, our document of predicting issues, sadly, we must be a little bit humble on this regard, but– 

MARGARET BRENNAN: So we’re not safer?  You are hoping we’re.

KHALILZAD: We’re a lot safer than we have been earlier than we went to Afghanistan, when al Qaeda was working camps–

MARGARET BRENNAN: You are speaking about 2001. 

KHALILZAD: –and hundreds of individuals have been being skilled, al Qaida, the sponsor of Afghanistan. That’s gone.

MARGARET BRENNAN: However from August of this 12 months on.

KHALILZAD: Nicely we have to control the scenario. Not- to not do the identical factor we did previous to 9/11, as we have been seeing Al Qaeda was growing, coaching, organizing. And we did not have a critical technique in response to it till after 9/11. We should not repeat that mistake once more. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you are feeling you have been misled by the Taliban?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, I do not permit folks to mislead me. I do my homework. An entire of presidency. This was not Zal Khalilzad alone doing this. I had the navy, the intelligence, everybody with me.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You are the one one out right here defending it although. 

KHALILZAD: Yeah, but– that is one motive why I left.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I provide you with credit score for coming and speaking about it.

KHALILZAD: I am- I- One motive I left the federal government, as I wrote in my letter, is that- that the talk wasn’t actually, correctly, primarily based on realities and information of what occurred, what was happening and what our alternate options have been. The choice in the end was made to place conditions-based apart and- and comply with a calendar foundation.

MARGARET BRENNAN: President Biden might have requested to maintain troops longer, is what you are saying?

KHALILZAD: He might have, then there would have been penalties for it, which is that the Talibs may not have accepted that and due to this fact they- no assault on U.S. forces that was in place for therefore many months.

MARGARET BRENNAN: 13 American service folks died although.

KHALILZAD: Because of a terrorist assault on the airport by DAESH, which the Talibs are enemy of–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Carried out by ISIS is who you are speaking about.

KHALILZAD: By ISIS, and they’re at struggle with one another.

MARGARET BRENNAN: However that bomber was launched from jail by the Taliban.

KHALILZAD: Nicely, not with the intention–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Not with the intention. However that was what occurred. So this wasn’t an orderly withdrawal. 13 Individuals died. 

KHALILZAD: No person- no person, I’d- I am not saying it was an orderly withdrawal. This was an unsightly remaining section. Little doubt about it. Might have been lots worse. It may very well be a lot– The Talibs did assist with the withdrawal. Common McKenzie would let you know they did all the pieces we requested them to do throughout that remaining section. I used to be on the telephone with them continuously, “Push this, shut this street, permit these buses.” It might have been lots worse. Kabul might have been destroyed, avenue to avenue preventing might have occurred. I went to Afghanistan after 30-plus years after the Soviet withdrawal and what occurred? All over the place you appeared, it was destruction like some German metropolis after World Battle Two. This might have been lots worse. It might have been lots worse. It may nonetheless be lots worse, or it might probably get higher. However the selection is now largely theirs, Afghans. Rumi, the nice Afghan born in Balkh, mentioned, “You may stroll with folks, You can’t stroll for them.”

MARGARET BRENNAN: Ambassador, thanks to your time. 

KHALILZAD: Thanks. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Thanks for taking questions.

KHALILZAD: Thanks very a lot. Good to see you. 


The next is an unabridged transcript of Margaret Brennan’s interview with Zalmay Khalilzad, Former U.S. Particular Consultant for Afghanistan Reconciliation that aired Sunday, October 24,2021, on “Face the Nation.”


MARGARET BRENNNAN: The chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s victory there has left many questions on whether or not Individuals are literally safer now. Till a number of days in the past, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad was the Biden administration’s high envoy, negotiating immediately with the Taliban. He brokered the Trump period cope with the Taliban, through which the US promised to withdraw all U.S. forces, and he joins us now for his first tv interview. Welcome to this system.

FMR. US ENVOY FOR AFGHANISTAN ZALMAY KHALILZAD: It is nice to be with you, MARGARET.

MARGARET BRENNNAN: We have now lots to speak to (you about), and I wish to get via all of it. However I wish to begin with some unhappy information of the week, the passing of Colin Powell. You labored with him carefully in the course of the Bush administration. What do you assume the secretary’s legacy is?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, he is only a nice American. He led with distinction not solely within the navy discipline, but additionally diplomatically. He constructed a giant coalition in Afghanistan; not solely in going to  Afghanistan, however afterwards for reconstruction of Afghanistan. I keep in mind going with him to Tokyo for the pledging convention. I had nice private relations with him. I- he truly influenced my ebook that I did known as Envoy by saying, “Write much less about what you probably did in authorities and extra about how did you come to America, your rising up.” And that was sensible recommendation that exhibits this selflessness, the opposite facet of his persona to assist others. And so I keep in mind him very fondly. I am indebted to him.

MARGARET BRENNAN: He informed Bob Woodward shortly earlier than he handed that he was effective with the US withdrawing from Afghanistan, that ultimately, he mentioned it was going to be Afghans that received that struggle.

KHALILZAD: That- that’s the view of so many who initially favored going to Afghanistan. Though then there have been variations of view as as to whether we should always maintain a small drive – to not do nation constructing and do counterterrorism – versus those that thought we should always remodel the entire area as a result of that area was now the supply of the safety issues of the world like Europe was within the nineteenth and twentieth century, and that Afghanistan and Iraq would be the constructing blocks of a brand new, peaceable, democratic and affluent Center East.

MARGARET BRENNAN: That was the Bush administration’s considering. 

KHALILZAD: Proper, and- and Colin Powell was skeptical. However he served loyally and successfully in the course of the interval that he was in authorities. Sure. So the view that we should always go away gained widespread help even amongst those that initially supported going into Afghanistan.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And that brings us to the place we’re proper now. 

KHALILZAD: Sure. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: You’ve gotten spent extra time with the Taliban than any American. 

KHALILZAD: Mhm. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: You have been intimately concerned with this negotiation. 

KHALILZAD: Mhm. 

MARGARET BRRENNAN: The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Workers, Mark Milley, mentioned this was a strategic failure, the top of America’s longest struggle. He mentioned, “The enemy is now in cost in Kabul.” Do you share that view?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, I believe there’s lots of anger and lots of resentment about what has occurred there. I believe we went to Afghanistan to be sure that those that had participated within the 9/11 assault have been dropped at justice and that Al-Qaeda would by no means be capable to use Afghanistan or some other terrorist group to assault america once more. I believe with regard to terrorism, we largely have achieved that goal. On the problem of constructing a democratic Afghanistan – I believe that- that didn’t succeed. The wrestle goes on. And it must be carried on by the Afghans themselves. We reworked Afghanistan. I believe thousands and thousands of Afghans now are educated, cell telephones, the Taliban are going to have a tough time placing them again within the field the best way they’d put folks within the Nineties. However we- we didn’t obtain the second goal of the transformation, an everlasting transformation of Afghanistan right into a democratic allied nation state.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The enemy is in control of Kabul. Is that the way you view the Taliban authorities now?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, we fought the Taliban, clearly for 20 years. They aren’t our allies, or companions. So there’s distrust and mistrust. However we’d have clearly most popular a special final result, a negotiated final result through which the individuals who supported the Republic, which means the federal government since we went into Afghanistan, sharing energy with- with the Talibs. The Talibs are a actuality of Afghanistan. We didn’t defeat them. In reality, they have been making progress on the battlefield whilst we have been negotiating with them. And the explanation we negotiated with them was as a result of militarily issues weren’t going in addition to we’d have favored. We have been dropping floor annually. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: They have been successful the struggle.

KHALILZAD: Slowly however making progress. And for us to reverse the progress that they have been making was going to require much more effort. And we tried it a few instances to extend the trouble, however not making progress in opposition to them. So we thought it is higher to get the negotiated settlement. The negotiation was a consequence of- primarily based on the judgment that we weren’t successful the struggle and due to this fact time was not on our facet and higher to make a deal before later. And that is what we did.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And that was the conclusion of President Obama. President Trump, President Biden, and I will get into the small print of the deal, however I wish to ask you a little bit bit about what’s taking place now since you’ve got been the primary conduit to the Taliban because the authorities’s fall, you’ve got been making an attempt to get Individuals out. What number of Individuals stay in Afghanistan at present?

KHALILZAD: We aren’t positive, the frank reply is, as a result of not each American– a few of them are Afghan Individuals who’ve households there, who reside there and that–

MARGARET BRENNAN: It is tons of, is not it?

KHALILZAD: I believe it’s extremely seemingly that it will be in tons of, however we do not know. The reality of the matter is, we do not know. We have now tried to, once I was in authorities, attain out via numerous means, telephone calls, emails, embassy statements publicly to- to get in contact and- and plenty of had not, after which later some did. Some have been ambivalent about going or staying. Some wished to carry 65 members of their households who weren’t Individuals with them. In the event that they could not carry all of them, they weren’t keen to go away themselves. So a lot of points. However I can let you know that lots of good folks labored very exhausting to carry as many Individuals- all Individuals in the event that they wished to go away. In our system of- fortuitously, we won’t coerce Americans to go away, so that they must decide. And- and however my judgment is there may very well be nonetheless tons of of Individuals there.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Lots of, and the Pentagon had–

KHALILZAD: -could be there.

MARGARET BRENNAN: — The Pentagon has acknowledged there are additionally U.S. skilled commandos–

KHALILZAD: Proper.

MARGARET BRENNAN: –Afghan commandos who have been left behind, individuals who fought alongside Individuals for years, together with interpreters who’re nonetheless making an attempt to get out. What number of of them are left? And can we bear ethical accountability to get them out?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, we’ve got to, to begin with, acknowledge they did not combat for us. They fought for his or her nation. And typically we self flagellate a little bit that what occurred in Afghanistan was largely our effort. Afghans are divided. A few of them imagine in a Republic, extra Western model authorities, these are largely city Afghans. However then there are different Afghans who help the extra Islamic authorities, just like the Taliban group. And–

MARGARET BRENNAN: However these have been skilled allied forces, a lot of whom wish to get out now. Can we bear accountability?– 

KHALILZAD: Those that wish to get out, we should always clearly assist them. We have now brought- I can say, hundreds of Afghans who helped us and their relations, and this course of will proceed. I’ve received the Talibs to comply with make an announcement on nationwide tv in Afghanistan that any Afghan who has labored with america needs to go away, they won’t make any issues or create obstacles on their method to the port.

MARGARET BRENNAN: There are stories they’re being hunted down and plenty of are in hiding.

KHALILZAD:Nicely, I see these stories and typically we once I was in authorities, I appeared into these stories and located that they weren’t essentially at all times correct and that there have been individuals who have additionally acted as Talibs who’ve taken revenge for some private or one thing that the particular person had completed in opposition to what they regard to have been unfair to them. However we’re holding the strain and we should always proceed to maintain the strain on the Talibs to honor the commitments that they’ve made.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Who does that? The CIA or the State Division, who?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, the strain comes from the entire of presidency with the State Division within the lead. Though in our final engagement with the Talibs, the deputy director of the CIA led our discussions with them. However we- a diplomatic channel could be very much- within the lead. We have now an embassy in Doha and the cost meets repeatedly with the Taliban.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The UN has given some fairly dire projections of what is taking place inside Afghanistan proper now. Greater than 1,000,000 kids might die of malnutrition within the subsequent 12 months. The Taliban has nonetheless not allowed women aged 12 and older to return to highschool. They might say one thing, however they don’t seem to be doing it. There are movies of ladies being crushed within the streets, simply demonstrating for his or her rights. I imply, is not this proof that the Taliban has no intention of changing into a democratic authorities or any sort of authorities that protects human rights?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, there is no query that the Taliban have a special imaginative and prescient for Afghanistan. It is their imaginative and prescient of a extra Islamic authorities than existed earlier than. And there’s clearly disputes in regards to the interpretation of Islam.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Little women going to highschool?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, I believe there’s a disagreement contained in the Taliban. That is why I believe that we won’t say all Taliban behave in the identical manner. There are factions inside it. Proper now, for instance, in a minimum of three or 4 provinces, excessive colleges for women have been opened. They usually say the identical will occur so far as the remainder of the nation is worried. And we should always maintain them to that, maintain strain on them. They need help, they need normalcy in relations. They need their moneys of Afghanistan and the US banks to be unfrozen.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Ought to or not it’s? 

KHALILZAD: I believe we should not accomplish that with out a clear understanding of what they are going to do in alternate for which- what steps we’re keen to take. And there needs to be a time in that settlement that needs to be sort of a roadmap as to when they are going to do what and- and in response to that what it’s that we’ll do. I believe that’s- that process is forward of us.

MARGARET BRENNAN: However do not you assume it is a bit of a fantasy to say that the Taliban will do all of these belongings you simply laid out? Aren’t they proving themselves to not be able to that?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, I- I believe that- my judgment is that the Taliban should not the identical Taliban of the Nineties, however that is largely true of some, particularly those that we negotiated with, they’re extra worldly. However there are different factions the place some commanders have been much less uncovered to the world, and they’re extra hardline, and it is then that wrestle that the way forward for Afghanistan could be determined. In the event that they don’t– Taliban do not transfer towards extra inclusiveness, respecting the rights of the Afghan folks, after which honoring their dedication to us on terrorism; there can be no transfer in the direction of normalcy and there should not be. There needs to be no launch of funds. So their economic system might collapse and in that collapse a brand new civil struggle might begin. So the Talibs have some tough, essential decisions to make, and I believe they’re debating that themselves. I imagine one of the best method is to have interaction with them, with a transparent record of what it’s that we would like in alternate for what they wish to see, whether or not we will do all of them or a few of them. There needs to be a step-by-step settlement and a- and a roadmap that each side comply with.

MARGARET BRENNAN: It’s kind of of a euphemism to say some exhausting line people are in that authorities. I imply, the minister of the Inside has a $10 million bounty on his head as a result of he is a US designated terrorist, a member of the Haqqani community.

KHALILZAD: Completely.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Direct ties to Al-Qaeda.

KHALILZAD:: Completely. And due to this fact for us to do something, that difficulty needs to be handled to our satisfaction. Haqqani’s breaking to our satisfaction from Al-Qaeda needs to be a pre-condition, a situation for progress on the agenda that they’ve, together with the problem of unfreezing the- the- financial institution accounts.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So that you acknowledge that the Taliban has not lower ties with Al Qaeda?

KHALILZAD: The Taliban have agreed to not permit Al-Qaeda or some other terrorist group, which was a giant success for them to say Al-Qaida twice within the settlement.–

MARGARET BRENNAN: The settlement you negotiated again in 2020.

KHALILZAD: Proper. To plot and plan from the territories they managed, or now that they management Afghanistan, from Afghanistan in opposition to america and our allies. That was what we wished from them. However–

MARGARET BRENNAN: That’s what they mentioned on paper, however Chairman Milley says they didn’t reside as much as that.

KHALILZAD: Nicely, they- they’ve lived up- we’re satisfied that they don’t seem to be allowing- they don’t seem to be permitting plotting and planning operations by Al-Qaeda in opposition to america. We at all times wish to see extra from the Taliban, from virtually any nation that we cope with on this difficulty. We wish them to do extra. We wish to expel- to- to get them to expel any Al-Qaeda member who was there. Though they do argue that a few of these folks have been there for many years, as a result of in the course of the Soviet interval that’s, they’d come to Afghanistan. Some have married Afghans, they’ve kids and grandchildren there. However nonetheless the- the Taliban ought to do extra. We should always press them to do extra on the problem of terrorism.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do they know the place the chief of Al-Qaeda is? The UN says he is residing in Afghanistan.

KHALILZAD: Nicely, the report that I’ve seen signifies he may very well be in Afghanistan or adjoining territories.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Ayman al-Zawahiri.–

KHALILZAD: –al-Zawahiri. I do not know whether or not the Taliban realize it. The Taliban that I handled, they informed me they didn’t know the place he was.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you imagine that?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, I didn’t- there’s a, as I mentioned earlier than, an absence of belief between us and them. That is why it is crucial to not take their phrase for it, when it comes to what they are saying or what they decide to. That is why we’re saying there needs to be over the horizon monitoring of the commitments on terrorism and the flexibility to strike if we see plotting and planning happening.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Let’s discuss in regards to the deal you negotiated. 

KHALILZAD: Sure.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Why did you resign?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, I- I used to be requested by the previous president to barter our withdrawal from Afghanistan and get commitments from the Talibs on the terrorism entrance. That has been achieved. We’re out. Our longest struggle is over. Now we’re in a brand new section, coping with evacuation points and humanitarian points, which I believe america, the American individuals are very beneficiant, offering humanitarian help. I believed that the- the- it was the- given the brand new section, it was time to maneuver on. And we’ve got additionally adjusted, sort of, how we’ll do Afghanistan transferring ahead. So it was- it was time for me to- to maneuver on as effectively.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You mentioned this was a job to barter the US withdrawal. 

KHALILZAD: Sure. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Previously, you’ve got mentioned one thing about this additionally being a peace deal. 

KHALILZAD: Sure. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Was it actually nearly not capturing Individuals on their manner out the door? Is that what this project was?

KHALILZAD: In reality we even negotiated a situation primarily based complete settlement that- that had 4 parts: terrorism dedication from the Talibs, which was a elementary, timetable for US withdrawal, intra-Afghan negotiations, and an settlement on a brand new authorities and a complete everlasting ceasefire. And this was a bundle, and the US withdrawal was an important for us as a result of Afghanistan was being very costly, I do know value virtually $40 billion a 12 months, and the world has modified since 2001. Sources have been wanted for different key points like, how do you cope with China, the technological race, the geopolitical competitors with them, and typically even home points. So for us, terrorism and withdrawal was an important, however we wished to additionally do the suitable factor for the Afghans, and- and we put these two others situations additionally as a part of the settlement.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Nicely, the settlement itself is what I wish to discuss to you about, as a result of if you discuss to, as I’ve, former Afghan officers, or if you hearken to Common Milley or Common McKenzie testify on Capitol Hill, they go all the best way again to that 2020 deal you negotiated. They usually say that was the second.

KHALILZAD: Proper.

MARGARET BRENNAN: That was the second when America signed this deal, that it was extremely demoralizing to Afghan forces. So when President Biden says they only melted away, they are saying it was that deal you brokered that did that.

KHALILZAD: Nicely, I say to that a few issues. One is that the explanation we moved in the direction of that deal — President Obama wished to do it, President Trump did it, and President Biden continued with it — is as a result of militarily we weren’t making progress. We weren’t successful the struggle, primary. So the query was, can we do what we have been doing, dropping floor for a lot of extra years with out successful? Or can we search an alternate? And two, one of many massive questions, we’ve got to ask ourselves, why the Afghan military didn’t combat? Did they not imagine within the trigger themselves?

MARGARET BRENNAN: They fought for 20 years.

KHALILZAD: Nicely, whereas we have been there. After our withdrawal– have been they only preventing for us? Or have been they preventing for a trigger? Did the Talibs have a perception in what they have been doing and the federal government forces didn’t? Was it due to the corruption of the regime that we had helped, that they’d misplaced confidence in that regime? That the federal government didn’t deal with the troopers proper, paying their salaries, taking care of the households of those that misplaced their lives? This needs to be one of many key points. Why is it? I believe it is too easy and never altogether proper, except we predict this military fought solely due to the U.S., to say that the settlement was answerable for why they did not combat and so they disintegrated. I imagine there have been many extra causes, and- and- and I believe the Pentagon, I am positive, is taking a look at this–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Sure.

KHALILZAD: — and we must be taking a look at this difficulty carefully as a result of we spent lots of effort–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Sure.

KHALILZAD:–and lots of time. And why was it that on the finish they disintegrated? I believe that will be home components of Afghanistan as effectively, in addition to the best way how we construct this drive. It must be checked out.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And- and we hear guarantees from the administration. They are going to do a sizzling wash of all of this–

KHALILZAD: Proper.

MARGARET BRENNAN: However on that time,–

KHALILZAD: Proper. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: –don’t you see some legitimacy to the argument that when essentially the most highly effective nation on this planet legitimizes the Taliban, sits down with them, says we’ll signal this settlement alongside you, that the message despatched to each governor, to each soldier — writing’s on the wall. The Taliban’s coming again to energy it doesn’t matter what.

KHALILZAD: I can let you know that- that the Afghan folks overwhelmingly wished a peace settlement. They have been uninterested in this struggle, particularly they did not see it entering into the suitable route. And the settlement mentioned that there could be negotiations between the federal government and the Talibs. So that they opened the door for a peaceable settlement.

MARGARET BRENNAN: However- however you didn’t embrace the Afghan authorities within the deal between the U.S. and Taliban. That was a later step that you just promised to to incorporate them, however for the deal you brokered…

KHALILZAD: Proper.

MARGARET BRENNAN: H.R. McMaster, retired common, former nationwide safety adviser to President Trump, mentioned you- you brokered a give up deal. How do you reply to that?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, to begin with, on the identical day that we signed the cope with the Talibs, we had a joint announcement with NATO’s secretary common in Kabul endorsing that settlement and the continuation of our help. Whereas we signed the settlement, we proceed to help the Afghan armed forces. In reality, that deal allowed us one thing that has not gotten a lot consideration. That whereas the Talibs agreed to not assault us after the deal was signed, they allowed that- they agreed that we might come to the protection of the Afghan forces in the event that they have been attacked and for–

MARGARET BRENNAN: As a result of they have been attacking the Afghan forces that we backed.

KHALILZAD: And so we got here to the protection of the Afghan forces. They allowed us- we might kill Talibs in the course of the withdrawal interval, however they could not assault us. Second is- the explanation for the deal, to my pal Common McMaster and others, is as a result of we weren’t successful the struggle. How lengthy does Common McMaster assume we should always proceed whereas dropping floor annually? Why- why- why was that the case after 20 years? That with a lot funding, a lot lack of life that we have been dropping floor to the Talibs, and the choice was both a negotiated settlement or extra of the identical. And folks manner above my pay grade determined extra of the identical is just not acceptable anymore. We wanted to–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Above your pay grade. You are speaking about Secretary of State Pompeo or are you speaking about President Trump?

KHALILZAD: Each, and within the present administration too. They have been deliberated on and the choice was what it was. Generally folks assume that I would have- as if I had all of the authority for resolution making. Nicely, we all know that’s clearly not true. However once more, I imply, having participated with a number of presidents, I can guarantee you that there’s a lot of deliberation, and given the alternate options accessible, a selection was made

MARGARET BRENNAN: As a result of the American public had misplaced the need to combat.

KHALILZAD: And- and the combat wasn’t going proper. The combat was not going proper after 20 years.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So I wish to undergo a number of the specifics with you–

KHALILZAD: Sure, please.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Since you have been the practitioner right here, proper?

KHALILZAD: Proper.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So one of many chief criticisms of you is you gave up an excessive amount of and you bought too little.

KHALILZAD: Proper.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I do know you are saying you have been simply the man finishing up what the president– 

KHALILZAD: I can take criticism. No- no points there, I am positive there are at all times alternate options, sure.

MARGARET BRENNAN: However on the precise level of one of many issues within the deal. Why did the Trump administration comply with the Taliban’s demand that 5000 prisoners be launched? 5000 prisoners who might very simply find yourself proper on that battlefield?

KHALILZAD: Proper?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Why did you try this earlier than peace talks?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, that- the Taliban, as a way to sit with the federal government, to barter, wished some confidence-building measures from each side. Their demand was all prisoners be launched by each side as a goodwill gesture as they have been going to sit down collectively on the desk to barter peace.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What do they want potential fighters for in the event that they’re negotiating peace?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, however they have been giving up fighters additionally, as a result of there was an alternate of prisoners, not a launch, one sided launch. The federal government had over fifteen thousand or so prisoners, the federal government of Afghanistan. And the Talibs had a thousand prisoners. The Talibs mentioned that they might launch all of theirs, however they need the entire prisoners that the federal government had. The federal government– in the end going backwards and forwards, we agreed as a confidence constructing measure to begin intra-Afghan negotiations, 5,000 for 1,000. And there wasn’t any scarcity of fighters on both facet. 300 thousand on one facet. 70 thousand on the opposite facet or extra, perhaps or much less. So it wasn’t-  They usually made a dedication that these people– freed prisoners by each side won’t return to the battlefield.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Was that lived as much as?

KHALILZAD: I believe in-in the vast majority of instances, an awesome majority of instances, our judgment is sure. Though there was some cases, and the Talibs attributed that- that these individuals who went again have been those that the federal government, after releasing them, have been looking them. Now that I’d say that the Taliban, a number of the troopers that have been launched or a few of their fighters that have been launched did return into the battle.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So– however you possibly can perceive should you’re sitting in Kabul, within the US allied elected authorities of Afghanistan and also you’re saying, “The destiny of my nation is being determined with out me on the desk and the enemy is having hundreds of prisoners launched, I am being bought down the river right here.”

KHALILZAD: No, the query was that what we did, in truth, was the other, which is that they have been preventing one another and dropping floor, the federal government was dropping floor. And what we did is because of this settlement, we began direct for the primary time in 40 years of Afghan historical past of struggle, current struggle, to speak to one another, to sit down throughout the desk, to barter eachother– 

MARGARET BRENNAN: That took a very long time to occur. And people negotiations did not go wherever.

KHALILZAD: Nicely, that could be a totally different query. Why did not the negotiations go wherever? Is it– did the federal government play a task within the sluggish rolling of the negotiations? Did the federal government embrace these negotiations? Did it marketing campaign in opposition to the peace course of? In fact ideally, I can perceive for the federal government to have wished to be the one to barter all the pieces with the Taliban, together with the U.S. forces. However that is what we tried for 18 years or 16 years, to say for the Talibs, “Sit with the federal government and negotiate.” They mentioned first they should attain an understanding with the U.S. Then they are going to sit with that with the Afghans, and that is what we did.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Nicely, that is what the Taliban demanded. However–

KHALILZAD: That is what they demanded. Sure.

MARGARET BRENNAN: However for america to comply with that, do not you perceive the way it poisoned the waters with President Ghani and his authorities that they would not belief what was about to occur?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, the query is once more, I’d come again to what’s the- what decisions did the federal government or us face? Can we wish to go to proceed the struggle or having come to a judgment that we weren’t succeeding, we weren’t successful the struggle, that we should always search a political settlement, and we- in that political settlement, as I mentioned, we had 4 parts which included negotiations with the federal government and a complete everlasting ceasefire as a part of the settlement. Then, in fact, a few of the- our leaders right here have been skeptical about making the withdrawal of america forces contingent on a political settlement and a complete ceasefire, as a result of the assumption was that we very effectively will get caught there as a result of the Afghan authorities may not wish to make a deal, the Talibs may not wish to make a deal or the 2 might not come to an settlement. So on the finish, we determined to not do- to- to- to go forward with a situation primarily based method, however moderately to do a calendar withdrawal.

MARGARET BRENNAN: However essentially– 

KHALILZAD: However that is not an settlement. I imply, the distinction between what was within the settlement and what we did was the settlement was a conditions-based bundle, however in the end the choice was to do a calendar primarily based withdrawal.

MARGARET BRENNAN:  Proper. The situations went out the door. I imply, Chairman Milley has mentioned that the Taliban did not reside as much as this deal, interval.

KHALILZAD: No, I imply, our method, our approach– 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Underneath the Biden Administration, they mentioned, now not situations primarily based. We’re simply out. You are saying–

KHALILZAD: Due to pessimism about- the pessimism about whether or not the Afghans might attain an settlement, that it could take for much longer. And if the Afghans do not attain an settlement and we do not honor the timetable for withdrawal, we may very well be again at struggle with the Taliban.

MARGARET BRENNAN: However, and there’s loads of criticism and one other hour of what occurred with the Afghan authorities itself. However this was an settlement between america and the Taliban.

KHALILZAD: Proper. With a full information and- of the Afghan authorities. 

MAARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hmm. You have been telling them what was taking place? Sure.

KHALILZAD: Yeah. We’re exhibiting them to the varied drafts. They have been very happy with the joint assertion that was issued as I mentioned on the identical day, with persevering with navy help, we got here to the protection of their forces once they have been attacked with–

MARGARET BRENNAN: The Ghani authorities was not supportive of your work. You realize that. I imply, you, you and President Ghani personally had some dangerous blood. You have identified him for years. His workplace accused you of making an attempt to run for president of Afghanistan your self at one level.

KHALILZAD: All of that’s true, however there was- there was nothing about me on this regard. I used to be representing america to hold out the president’s route, to barter the settlement, and the settlement with 4 parts. However I imagine the most important problem was that President Ghani and some different Afghan leaders didn’t imagine that we have been critical about withdrawal for a very long time, and so they like the established order in comparison with a political settlement through which they won’t have the roles that they’d and- and the assets that the US was offering wouldn’t be there. They most popular the established order to a political settlement. After which when it grew to become clear that the U.S. was leaving, then they- they miscalculated the consequences of-of the persevering with struggle. They weren’t critical in regards to the political settlement. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.

KHALILZAD: These are additionally information that impacted the scenario.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But when america is promising primarily to ship the Afghan authorities and to make this deal occur, wasn’t it diplomatic malpractice–

KHALILZAD: No.

MARGARET BRENNAN –for the secretary of state to not be holding Ghani’s hand strolling him via this? Should not Mike Pompeo have been doing that? Should not Tony Blinken have been doing that?

KHALILZAD: Each of them spent lots of time with uh– President Ghani to take the negotiation severely to imagine that we were–

MARGARET BRENNAN: You do not fault the actions of both Secretary of State? 

KHALILZAD: I don’t as a result of I imagine that each labored extraordinarily exhausting, extraordinarily exhausting, that- to do the suitable factor for Afghanistan. Clearly, first for us when it comes to the instructions they obtained from the president, but additionally to be sure that the terrorism difficulty was addressed, to be sure that the withdrawal to, that we do not return to (CROSSTALK)

MARGARET BRENNAN: However how — america — how was extra arm twisting not taking place then, if all of the blame is to go on the Ghani government–

KHALILZAD: I imagine myself, now that you have requested, that moderately than that, we pressed Ghani an excessive amount of, it is my judgment that we did not press him exhausting sufficient. That we– there have been lots of Afghans who wished to press Ghani lots, and so they have been asking whether or not it will be OK with us to press him tougher. We did not- We have been light with President Ghani. We used diplomacy. We inspired him. As soon as we- Secretary Pompeo threatened to chop off a billion {dollars} if Abdullah and Ghani- take a look at this case, they’re dropping the struggle in Afghanistan. They’ve an election, problematic election only one.2 million might have participated, to Inauguration- Think about a scenario like that. And Secretary Pompeo threatened to chop off one billion if they do not come to an settlement. So if we had informed President Ghani early on that there can be no navy help for his safety forces if he did not negotiate severely. As a result of he wished to remain on —

MARGARET BRENNAN: So the Trump administration might have pushed tougher.

KHALILZAD: We might have pushed tougher. I imagine looking back, my judgment is that we might have pressed President Ghani tougher.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Secretary Blinken has mentioned he inherited the- President Biden inherited this deal and never a plan to execute it? 

KHALILZAD: Proper.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Whose job was that?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, I believe that they did inherit a-a-a the settlement. Little doubt they’d that chance to try it. They usually did. They may have made a wide range of choices with regard to that settlement. They determined to stay with the withdrawal provisions, so–

MARGARET BRENNAN: They declare their fingers have been tied. It will have required plusing up of U.S. navy presence within the nation for them to do something apart from settle for what you handed them. Do you purchase that?

KHALILZAD: I believe my judgment is they’d two primary choices — go together with a situation primarily based method. See if- if the Taliban have met the situations of the settlement. The choice might have been, if sure, we’ll implement our a part of that settlement. Or to go for a calendar primarily based method. And the choice was to go for a calendar primarily based method.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you assume American politics drove this greater than the Nationwide safety technique?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, I imply, the query is on the nationwide safety and- that we’re in a special world than we have been in 2001. The most important difficulty dealing with us now’s the rise of China. The potential bipolarity…a complete competition–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Certain however Individuals simply watched on tv this chaotic withdrawal. 

KHALILZAD: Nicely, what–

MARGARET BRENNAN: This did not occur such as you imagined it will occur, you need to admit that.

KHALILZAD: Nicely, I imply, that may very well be checked out as effectively. It wasn’t good. I agree with that. No person says that was good the best way it happened– 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Why wasn’t there a greater plan in place from the Trump administration or crafted by the Biden administration to execute what you placed on paper?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, this execution of the final section was not a navy withdrawal that went awry. It was the response of the Afghan folks to- what was taking place that created the scenes on the airport. It was a mixture of worry and alternative.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The Taliban have been inside the town, inside Kabul, when President Ghani fled. 

KHALILZAD: Proper. However they had- we received an settlement with them on the 14, 15 of August that the 2 small– 4 items that have been there have been, would withdraw, that President Ghani would ship an empowered delegation. In reality, there’s a report that he video– ready an announcement on video, his settlement that for the 2 weeks, sending a delegation, an influence sharing authorities. However why did not keep to see the implementation of that and withdraw nonetheless is unclear.

MARGARET BRENNAN: However the Taliban’s actually knocking on the door. Some inside the town of Kabul and america navy remains to be there. Why did not the U.S. State Division have a plan to execute what you negotiated and had been in writing for years? Why wasn’t that left by the Trump administration? Why wasn’t that created by the- by Tony Blinken and the State Division?

KHALILZAD: The plan for withdrawal, which is the accountability of the Protection Division, was developed. Gen. McKenzie got here on the Fifteenth to exp-explain that to the Talibs in Doha. He and I sat with the Talib leaders and, uh, the navy plan was in place and a great plan. What difficult the scenario was the favored response in Kabul. The reason for which was each worry and alternative. Worry, as a result of for a very long time, everyone was saying, together with some officers, that when the Talibs come into Kabul, there could be a horrible struggle. Avenue to avenue preventing, destruction of the town. So folks have been afraid, that was one. Two, the impression was created that anybody who could make it to the airport, whether or not you have got paperwork or not, you’d be evacuated to america and to-to Europe. That mixture led to this flood of individuals to come back to the airport and trigger the- the- the horrible scenes.

MARGARET BRENNAN: However are you saying all the pieces that occurred was inevitable?

KHALILZAD: No, I do not assume it was inevitable. I believe we might have had a negotiated settlement. We might have had the 2 weeks settlement carried out. There have been decisions that individuals made, errors additionally little doubt have been made. President Ghani made the selection that he did that precipitated the forces to disintegrate in Kabul– 

MARGARET BRENNAN: To flee the nation on August the Fifteenth– 

KHALILZAD:  To flee the nation. Proper. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: A few of his allies would argue the navy was already melting-  melting away. The Taliban was already on the door. He was irrelevant at that time.

KHALILZAD: Not in Kabul, Kabul, a metropolis of 5 – 6 million folks.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The Taliban was there.

KHALILZAD: The Taliban, as I mentioned, they’d some perhaps a number of hundred forces already in, however they agreed to withdraw that and so they introduced it. They usually mentioned they are going to take- They usually- in discussions with us– that they are going to take a number of the authorities leaders, officers into the subsequent authorities. So the query is, why did President Ghani do what he did? If he was keen to step apart for the sake of peace, think about if he had provided {that a} 12 months in the past, six months in the past — that anyone that is mutually acceptable might have led the federal government. However he didn’t.

MARGARET BRENNAN: However essentially, the critique of you is that whilst you have been sitting in Doha and negotiating with Taliban political leaders, their fighters have been on the battlefield with no intention to comply with via on what you have been negotiating. Do you imagine that you just have been misled by the Taliban leaders you negotiated with?

KHALILZAD: I imagine that, the settlement said- The settlement mentioned that we’ll implement what we dedicated to if the Taliban carried out what they dedicated to.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Had been you negotiating with the suitable folks, although?

KHALILZAD: Little doubt as a result of we examined them.

MARGARET BRENNAN: However that is not who’s working Afghanistan now.

KHALILZAD: Nicely they’re a part of it. However the-the essential once more, President Ghani’s departure created a scenario through which the issue grew to become resolved, though as a substitute we’ll see what in the end occurs, by navy means. And that, in flip, empowered the extra militant Talibs. I imagine {that a} negotiated withdrawal would have empowered extra, the extra moderate– those that have been concerned within the negotiations. So there– two components, the settlement itself was condition-based, a package-

MARGARET BRENNAN: Proper. After which the Biden administration mentioned it will not be a conditions-based withdrawal.

KHALILZAD: Nicely, that is a call that was made. That was resolution a made manner above my pay grade.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So how a lot accountability lies then with the administration now if you’re saying it was all President Ghani. Is there blame to be borne by President Biden and his diplomats who you have been working with?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, I imagine that- that the diplomats labored very exhausting. The president made the choice that he did to not pursue a condition-based method, however simply the calendar-based method, due to a perception that should you pursue a situation primarily based method – that the Afghan should negotiate and are available to an settlement first – that we’ll be caught there for a very long time, given what he had realized, his negotiators  had realized from President Ghani and from the Talibs — that they have been far aside and an settlement was unlikely on a political components with the folks of Afghanistan desperately wanted. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you actually imagine that the Taliban would have or nonetheless will maintain elections or share energy? Do not they only wish to run the nation themselves?

KHALILZAD: Certain. I imply, and as President Ghani wished to run the nation himself, did not wish to go away workplace. That is the- clearly the popular final result given their psychologies. However I feel–

MARGARET BRENNAN: And also you knew that whilst you have been negotiating with the Taliban, that though they’re agreeing to some type of power-sharing that they, ultimately of the day, wish to run the nation? 

KHALILZAD: I believed that they might comply with an influence sharing association if- as a result of with out that they might have struggle, we would not go away, as a result of that was situation primarily based. So as a result of I imply, all of us have our personal want record, that is what we would favor. However what would have been practical and a condition-based method, both struggle so far as one can see, or a negotiated political settlement. President Ghani, however, wished to remain as president to- for the whole thing of his time period. And if we had informed him we’re not going to offer you navy help except you compromise, that somebody that is mutually acceptable would lead the government–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Why did not that occur? 

KHALILZAD: Nicely, as a result of we were- did not wish to coerce the president of a rustic (CROSSTALK)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Why could not Secretary Blinken have completed that?

KHALILZAD: Nicely look, Secretary Blinken did ship a letter which was leaked, as you saw–

MARGARET BRERNNAN: A letter?

KHALILZAD: –to President Ghani quickly after he got here to power–

MARGARET BRENNAN: It was a strongly worded letter, but it surely’s far totally different from saying, “I will lower you off except you do that.”

KHALILZAD: Nicely, I imply, lots of concerns. President Ghani was very efficient in lobbying in Washington. He had many pals in numerous components of the town, he lived right here for a really very long time. He was a part of, he have a analysis middle not removed from the place we’re at present. So there was some reluctance to do, to place that sort of strain on him. And all of that can be sort of a part of the combination that produced the end result that- that- that in the end occurred.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I imply, in your resignation letter, you mentioned, “This didn’t prove as you envisaged.”

KHALILZAD: Proper. I’d have wished- I’d have favored to see a negotiated settlement. I-I really feel for Afghanistan. I — in any case, I used to be born there, and I’ve spent lots of my life on behalf of america centered on Afghanistan. I helped them with their structure. I helped them with their first election. I established an American college in-in Afghanistan. I used to be very inspired by the primary years, the keenness, the hopefulness that I noticed there. However sadly, the political elite of the nation made horrible errors. Allowed corruption, misused elections, democracy, and did not deal with their safety forces maybe the best way they need to have been handled. And we confronted the- the circumstances we did. Consider me, once I was there as ambassador, should you had requested me, “Would america forces could be in Afghanistan in 10 years?” I’d have mentioned “In fact not.” However due to what occurred there. It had an impact right here. And the actual fact right here was, uh, that it is time to transfer on, given the adjustments on this planet and on condition that we’ve got had vital success in coping with the problem of terrorism.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Why wasn’t there a plan in place, a minimum of on the counterterrorism entrance, to cope with the Taliban, to speak to the Taliban?

KHALILZAD: Nicely we did discuss to the Taliban. We have now a set of agreements with them, a few of which haven’t been launched but, on what they are going to do on the terrorism entrance. We maintain them accountable to these agreements. And–

MARGARET BRENNAN: So –  I am sorry – as a result of the administration says that these agreements should not in place, which is why they’re making an attempt to construct these relationships now with the Taliban–

KHALILZAD: No no, there’s an settlement in place. There’s settlement in place with the Taliban on terrorism and counterterrorism. However–

MARGARET: To do what? 

KHALILZAD: Nicely, that they won’t host. They won’t permit fundraising. They won’t permit coaching. They won’t permit recruitment of- by people or teams that can threaten the safety of america and our allies, together with Al Qaeda. However since we do not belief them, we are– President Biden’s resolution additionally having over the horizon, since we’re now not in Afghanistan– we’re in Afghanistan till a number of weeks ago– 

MARGARET: Proper.

KHALILZAD: — so we have been doing it from there. And since we determined to go away, we will try this from past Afghanistan. And that is what stays a vital mission.

MARGARET So if you say there have been counterterrorism plans in place— 

KHALILZAD: Agreements in place. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Was that contingent on america holding some sort of presence in Afghanistan?

KHALILZAD : Nicely, we had agreed to withdraw utterly.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I do know what we agreed to. However was there a wink and a nod? I do know you know– 

KHALILZAD:—The the problem was this, and I’ll let you know—

MARGARET BRENNAN: —We hear from lots of the identical nationwide safety officers on this nation, not simply in Afghanistan, who mentioned, “We’re going to maintain some folks there.”

KHALILZAD: Nicely, what it was is, as I will describe, which is that the Talibs, as Talibs, they’ve mentioned repeatedly couldn’t comply with an indefinite U.S. navy presence, as a result of that will undermine the very raison d’etre of the wrestle of the 17, 18 years–

MARGARET BRENNAN:—To get out the overseas navy forces.

KHALILZAD:—the occupation, they described it. However, as soon as there’s this negotiated authorities that the 2 sides will comply with, the choice on what occurs after could be the choice by that authorities and by america. If the president at the moment wished to have a residual drive, that needed to be negotiated or could be negotiated with that authorities after a political settlement.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So there was a wink and a nod that america would maintain some sort of presence in Afghanistan. Is that what you are saying?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, what I’m saying is—

MARGARET BRENNAN:—As a result of that appears like what you are saying.

KHALILZAD: What I’m saying is what I mentioned, which is: that the Talibs couldn’t agree- 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Proper. However this new government–

KHALILZAD: but when a brand new authorities and the United States–

MARGARET BRENNAN: the Taliban wouldn’t object to it.

KHALILZAD: And america wished to and that authorities agreed with it. That is totally different.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So- so we’re saying the identical factor, however that went out the window when america pulled out utterly. So the Biden administration primarily blew up what you have been saying have been agreements for a framework for a possible agreement–

KHALILZAD: The scenario changed–the scenario modified radically. We determined to withdraw utterly. And two, I believe a negotiated settlement by the 2 sides was not achieved. So the circumstances additionally modified.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you assume Individuals are safer now?

KHALILZAD: I believe a giant burden is faraway from america. Some 40 billion… American troopers preventing for a struggle that wasn’t entering into the suitable route. We– the terrorist menace from Afghanistan is just not what it was. The American folks needs to be happy — not with the best way the ultimate section occurred, all of us are sad with that — however that the Afghan struggle is over for america. The burden has been diminished, that we achieved the objective of the devastating Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: The CIA says al Qaeda might reconstitute in as little as a 12 months inside Afghanistan.

KHALILZAD: Nicely, our document of predicting issues, sadly, we must be a little bit humble on this regard, but– 

MARGARET BRENNAN: So we’re not safer?  You are hoping we’re.

KHALILZAD: We’re a lot safer than we have been earlier than we went to Afghanistan, when al Qaeda was working camps–

MARGARET BRENNAN: You are speaking about 2001. 

KHALILZAD: –and hundreds of individuals have been being skilled, al Qaida, the sponsor of Afghanistan. That’s gone.

MARGARET BRENNAN: However from August of this 12 months on.

KHALILZAD: Nicely we have to control the scenario. Not- to not do the identical factor we did previous to 9/11, as we have been seeing Al Qaeda was growing, coaching, organizing. And we did not have a critical technique in response to it till after 9/11. We should not repeat that mistake once more. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you assume we’re? 

KHALILZAD: We needs to be monitoring and we needs to be responding as we see the scenario evolve. I additionally imagine that except there’s some excessive circumstance, the Taliban have additionally realized their lesson through which they paid a excessive value for that, permitting that- the al Qaeda to make use of Afghanistan. They are saying, “19 years, 18 years of struggling for one mistake.” That is what they used to inform me is– 

MARGARET BRENNAN: That is a really massive mistake.

KHALILZAD: Massive mistake, massive response. They received massive punishment. However now they’ve dedicated to not permit that. And we have to monitor it and be capable to reply if we see the menace rising.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you are feeling you have been misled by the Taliban?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, I do not permit folks to mislead me. I do my homework. An entire of presidency. This was not Zal Khalilzad alone doing this. I had the navy, the intelligence, everybody with me.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You are the one one out right here defending it although. 

KHALILZAD: Yeah, but– that is one motive why I left.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I provide you with credit score for coming and speaking about it.

KHALILZAD: I am- I- One motive I left the federal government, as I wrote in my letter, is that- that the talk wasn’t actually, correctly, primarily based on realities and information of what occurred, what was happening and what our alternate options have been, what we did, what from what we did continued, what was deserted and why and- and the place we should always go from right here?

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you are feeling you are a scapegoat?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, some are attempting to- to do this, however I believe that will not be honest. Placing me apart as a person as a result of we would not study the suitable classes then, if we simply put it on a person eternally. If we do not ask ourselves, “Why did our navy technique didn’t succeed? Why did we not obtain the targets over time that we’d have favored to realize with regard to constructing this new Afghanistan?”

MARGARET BRENNAN: I simply wish to be clear, as a result of if you say you weren’t alone on this, you have been intimately involved–

KHALILZAD: Certain. Completely. 

MARGARET BRENNAN –step by step on this with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. 

KHALILZAD: Proper. And with a brand new group when once they got here, and I defined to you what we achieved– 

MARGARET BRENNAN: However for the- the vast majority of two years, it was Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. And he knew all the pieces you have been negotiating, appropriate? 

KHALILZAD: Certainly. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: So when he runs for president in 2024, as many predict, ought to he be judged on this?

KHALILZAD: Nicely, he, however I’ve to say the settlement that we negotiated was a situation primarily based settlement to finish the struggle in Afghanistan and provides the Afghan folks an opportunity for peace. That is what the settlement was.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So he needs to be judged on that?

KHALILZAD: I imply, if if he does run for president, I am positive this can be one of many points on on on which he can be judged, little doubt.

MARGARET BRENNAN: as a result of he says that you just negotiated- negotiated a strong deal. It was the execution. It was the execution below the Biden administration.

KHALILZAD: I’ve described to you what the settlement was

MARGARET BRENNAN: Proper

KHALILZAD: The 4 parts. And I additionally described to you ways the choice in the end was made to place conditions-based apart and- and comply with a calendar foundation.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You are laying that on the Biden administration.

KHALILZAD:  No I am simply saying it was already taking place earlier–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Proper. They usually argue you boxed them in, and that they have been boxed in by the prior president.

KHALILZAD: You may at all times inherit settlement from the earlier group, you both comply with proceed with it otherwise you say, “No I wish to renegotiate that.” So these are the alternatives that- that occur on a regular basis. We noticed within the earlier administration, placing the Iran settlement apart, as that was an choice, or adjusting it. However the resolution was–

MARGARET BRENNAN: President Biden might have requested to maintain troops longer, is what you are saying?

KHALILZAD: He might have, then there would have been penalties for it, which is that the Talibs may not have accepted that and due to this fact they- no assault on U.S. forces that was in place for therefore many months, through which not a single American was killed by the Talibs from the settlement till full withdrawal. The Talibs may need put that apart, in order that that was the- I believe one of many components that impacted or influenced the choice that he made.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We have been speaking about particulars and politics, however as you made clear, you are feeling very passionately in regards to the nation of your beginning, Afghanistan.

KHALILZAD: Completely. And I’ll do what I can from outdoors as a person with my contacts and relationships each right here, there and the world to assist Afghanistan. The wrestle goes on. Now it is over to the Afghans. The American encounter with Afghanistan benefited the Afghans enormously. I imply, thousands and thousands of Afghans with cell telephones now related with the world. Our society has been related with it. The world has been related with it and-and now with out the navy, the burden of the navy presence, we have to use all different devices that we’ve got to encourage it to maneuver in the direction of the- the goals of an Afghanistan that is at peace with itself and doesn’t pose a menace to the remainder of the world.

MARGARET BRENNAN: However if you see photos of kids struggling to eat, if you see the images of ladies being whipped within the streets. How do you are feeling if you see that? Do you are feeling any diploma of accountability for this final result?

KHALILZAD: Really, there’s lots of work nonetheless to be completed in Afghanistan. It is a society that has lots of issues. Uh, uh, we, uh, want to assist them come to an settlement on a components that’s broadly accepted by city and rural Afghans, by secular and non secular Afghans. Afghanistan wasn’t a really perfect place earlier than we made this settlement and we withdrew. There was a struggle happening every single day. Two to a few hundred folks died. Individuals neglect that. Individuals assume, “Ah, we had such a great scenario, and look what–“

MARGARET BRENNAN: 60 % of the nation in 2018 was below the management of the Taliban  if you took this job, the Taliban was successful, as you mentioned.

KHALILZAD: Proper. I imply, nobody– this was a horrible scenario. Fewer folks die now in Afghanistan than died then. A lot fewer folks get killed now in Afghanistan, that-that no American will get killed in Afghanistan now.

MARGARET BRENNAN: 13 American service folks died although.

KHALILZAD: Because of a terrorist assault on the airport by DAESH, which the Talibs are enemy of–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Carried out by ISIS is who you are speaking about.

KHALILZAD: By ISIS, and they’re at struggle with one another.

MARGARET BRENNAN: However that bomber was launched from jail by the Taliban.

KHALILZAD: Nicely, not with the intention–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Not with the intention. However that was what occurred. So this wasn’t an orderly withdrawal. 13 Individuals died. 

KHALILZAD: No person- no person, I’d- I am not saying it was an orderly withdrawal. This was an unsightly remaining section. Little doubt about it. Might have been lots worse. It may very well be a lot– The Talibs did assist with the withdrawal. Common McKenzie would let you know they did all the pieces we requested them to do throughout that remaining section. I used to be on the telephone with them continuously, “Push this, shut this street, permit these buses.” It might have been lots worse. Kabul might have been destroyed, avenue to avenue preventing might have occurred. I went to Afghanistan after 30-plus years after the Soviet withdrawal and what occurred? All over the place you appeared, it was destruction like some German metropolis after World Battle Two. This might have been lots worse. It might have been lots worse. It may nonetheless be lots worse, or it might probably get higher. However the selection is now largely theirs, Afghans. Rumi, the nice Afghan born in Balkh, mentioned, “You may stroll with folks, You can’t stroll for them.” Now it is time for the Afghans to take possession with non-military help, except we’re threatened, then our navy needs to be in play. However we should always not abandon Afghanistan, flip our again on it — use our affect as a rustic with huge functionality and affect to encourage the emergence of an Afghanistan that the Afghans aspire for.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Ambassador, thanks to your time. 

KHALILZAD: Thanks. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Thanks for taking questions.

KHALILZAD: Thanks very a lot. Good to see you. 



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