Donald Trump's Afghanistan Peace Process 'Is Called Losing,' Fox News Analyst Says: 'We Completely Abandoned That Situation'

President Donald Trump's administration is reportedly making significant progress in its efforts to bring the long-running war in Afghanistan to an end, with American and Taliban representatives now close to agreeing to begin full peace talks including the Afghan government.

The New York Times reported last week that negotiators were nearing a deal that is expected to set a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops and to set up direct talks between the Taliban and Afghan officials over the future direction of the country.

Trump ran on a promise to end U.S. involvement in protracted foreign wars, and remains keen to bring American troops home from the longest running war in the country's history, now nearing 18 years.

But according to Fox News analyst Brit Hume, the reported peace agreement with the Taliban constitutes a U.S. defeat and will not be received well by the American public, regardless of how war weary they may be.

"This is called losing," Hume said on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Mediaite reported. "We completely—ultimately abandoned that situation over there, partly because it's unpopular, partly because people are frustrated with it, partly because it's been going on so long. We are not likely to appreciate the results and the public won't either."

It has been proposed that around half of the 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan would be quickly withdrawn under any peace deal with the Taliban, with the remainder leaving under a phased timetable that could stretch to five years.

In exchange, the Taliban would commit to reducing violence with a view to an eventual ceasefire and agree to prevent Afghan territory being used as a safe haven for terrorist groups to plan and launch attacks, such as Al-Qaeda.

On Sunday, the lead American negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad tweeted that the proposed agreement would "reduce violence and open the door for Afghans to sit together and to negotiate an honorable & sustainable peace and a unified, sovereign Afghanistan that does not threaten the United States, its allies or any other country."

But on Fox News Sunday, host Wallace suggested such a deal was too risky. "What we're talking about is that we would take almost—not quite—but almost half of our troops out and in return, all the Taliban is agreeing is that they are going to renounce Al-Qaeda and that they won't let them regenerate and that they will talk to the current Afghan government," he told panel members.

"But who knows—can you trust the Taliban?" Wallace asked. "What happens if they say we are going to renounce Al-Qaeda but not ISIS?"

ISIS has established a small but potent presence in northeastern Afghanistan, along the mountainous border with Pakistan. The group has been able to launch deadly attacks including several in the capital Kabul. While fighting NATO and government troops, ISIS fighters are also locked in a war for territory and influence with the Taliban.

"Public opinion on this is going to turn quite sharply if the scenario you described comes to pass," Hume responded.

The U.S. public is largely pessimistic about the war in Afghanistan. A 2018 Pew Research Center poll found that 49 percent of U.S. adults surveyed said the country had mostly failed in achieving its goals in Afghanistan, while 35 percent said it has mostly succeeded. Sixteen percent did not know whether the mission had succeeded or not.

A peace deal with the Taliban will remain unpalatable to some, given the resources and lives lost—1,892 at current count. But the alternative is a continued conflict, directed by an unenthusiastic administration against an emboldened Taliban in pursuit of a vague, arguably unattainable goal of a peaceful and functioning democracy.

Indeed, the difficulty of the project was evident even as negotiators fought to reach a deal. On Sunday, Taliban fighters launched their second attack in two days on the northern provincial capital Pul-i-Kumri, about 145 miles from Kabul. Increasingly ambitious Taliban operations are inflicting heavy casualties on government forces across the country and putting Kabul on the back foot.

"We put more troops in and we continue to lose," Wallace surmised. "At a certain point maybe you cut your losses. It is a really difficult situation."

Donald Trump, peace, Afghanistan, soldiers, defeat
In this photo taken on June 6, 2019, U.S. soldiers look out over hillsides at an Afghan National Army checkpoint in Nerkh district of Wardak province, Afghanistan. THOMAS WATKINS/AFP/Getty Images/Getty
Donald Trump's Afghanistan Peace Process 'Is Called Losing,' Fox News Analyst Says: 'We Completely Abandoned That Situation' | News