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Analysis: “No good choices” in talks with Taliban


There is a possible breakthrough in talks to end America’s longest war. Negotiators for the U.S. and the Taliban have agreed in principle on key issues. U.S. troops would leave Afghanistan in return for promises that Afghan territory not be used by terrorists, however difficult that may be to fulfill.

The U.S. took action in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks 17 years ago to oust the Taliban, who were harboring al Qaeda.

CBS News national security contributor Michael Morell was former President George W. Bush’s intelligence briefer, and was with him on 9/11. Morrell, a former acting director of the CIA, said by withdrawing troops, he believes al-Qaida would become a threat again.

“The Taliban will not negotiate in good faith with the Afghan government. They want a one party state. They want to rule it and they will allow al-Qaida safe haven because they have fought together for 17 years, and they have inter-marriages, they are very close,” Morrell said.

If the framework doesn’t happen, Morrell said the president can choose to stay in Afghanistan for the long term or leave with the understanding of what’s going to happen.

“Put U.S. military bases nearby, somewhere in central Asia for example, where they can reach out and keep al-Qaida from becoming strong again,” Morrell said.

But in the end, Morrell said “there are no good choices.”