Officials from the United States and the Taliban have agreed in principle to a framework that could eventually bring Afghanistan's long-running war to an end, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan said Monday. In comments given to the New York Times and confirmed to CNN by the US Embassy in Kabul, Zalmay Khalilzad said the framework for peace would see the insurgent group vow to prevent the country from being used as a hub for terrorism in return for a US military withdrawal. "We have a draft of the framework that has to be fleshed out before it becomes an agreement," Khalilzad told the Times on Monday. "The Taliban have committed, to our satisfaction, to do what is necessary that would prevent Afghanistan from ever becoming a platform for international terrorist groups or individuals."
Fox News Radio's Guy Benson & Marie Harf spoke with Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)who says the idea of negotiating with the Taliban is not a bad, but you don't negotiate from a position of weakness. Listen to him explain.
Guy Benson: [00:00:20] It's Tuesday January 29 2019. Welcome into Bensen and Harf. I'm Guy Benson political editor oftownhall.com FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR I'm in WashingtonD.C. at her home studio tonight. And with me is my cohost and friend Marie Harf. She is a Fox News analyst former State Department spokeswoman and she is in Philadelphia Pennsylvania this evening where I assume Marie it is as gross and cold as it is here.
Marie Harf: [00:00:46] Yes but apparently there is snow in Washington or a little bit and there's none in Philly yet but I heard it's coming after the show and they catch a train back home. But I am here for week two of the class I'm teaching at the University of Pennsylvania. So my students have all quit the class yet. So that's a good sign I guess.
Guy Benson: [00:01:05] There is still time.
Marie Harf: [00:01:07] I think there's one week left in the drop theory. So you're right technically there's still time.
Guy Benson: [00:01:12] So we are complaining a bit about the weather here but we really shouldn't be because it's the middle of the country. The Midwest in particular that is really suffering under this polar vortex. We mentioned it on the program a little bit last night. It is frigid. I just looked at my phone it is three degrees in Chicago right now. And joining us on the line is a Republican congressman from the suburbs of Chicago. Adam Kinzinger and Congressman I spent seven winters in Chicago during my time at Northwestern and early in my career. Those are very very cold times but I think Chicago land residents are sort of accustomed to them. The fact that there were so many businesses and schools closed on account of cold today indicates really how serious this is right.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger [00:01:59] Yeah it's Mars cold and you know I'm in D.C. which I usually like being home but I'll skip you know be in a home tomorrow because it's going to be like negative 20 is high. And yeah it's it's you know it's it's crazy. Like you can't even imagine that cold. Plus the wind chill on it. There's real danger in that. So people need to be safe and stay inside and watch Netflix all day.
Guy Benson: [00:02:21] All right Congressman so let's start with.
Marie Harf: [00:02:23] I endorse that by the way I endorse all of that.
Guy Benson: [00:02:27] We should have every single person. Just watch Netflix tomorrow except for the 17 Democrats and Republicans who have been assigned to this conference committee to try to hammer out some sort of deal on immigration to avoid potentially another shutdown in mid February. Congressman as you look at this problem you took multiple votes over the course of weeks during the shutdown. Finally this impasse was temporarily ended to give some space for negotiations what would you like to see happen over the next few weeks. And based on what you're hearing from colleagues or what do you think is a likely outcome.
Rep. Kinzinger: [00:03:05] Well some Marie's in Philly and there's a really cool pub there was where the founders used get together all the original recipe beer it's cool place but you know it reminds me of you know people used to get together and actually talk about things and come up with ideas. And you know I worry a lot about where this country is I'll get existential for a second and then answer the question but we can't talk anymore. Everybody is like in the trenches on each and every issue. Like it's like it's the end of the country if we don't get what we want we always assume the other side of the political debate has evil intentions. And that's where we've gotten as a country. That that worries me more than any issue of the day is I've seen places that have been torn apart by civil strife and civil war. And that began their inability to discuss discuss differences so on this one. You know I look at the issue of the wall and immigration as a kind of a tier 2 issue compared to a lot of Tier 1 issues out there but it's very important. And I would love to see out of this some compromise on both sides. I would love to see you know Democrats come up their position of walls are immoral and no walls to come and say OK I don't care to call it a barrier or wall you know a wall would be I don't care but you know I think the president is correct in saying look there is a benefit the to barriers on the border. I worked the border. I've seen it personally. I'm going back in a couple of weeks to do it again. It works it shrinks the amount of border you have to monitor actively. But on our side too you know we may have to come off the five point seven billion. We should do something for DACA and dreamer population. These are people that are not going to be deported from the United States. So let's get them to a position where they can actually work and be productive. And you know I think if we could actually solve this problem which we all know what we need to do to get there 80 percent of the American people would like it with the exception of the extremes but we just you know for whatever reason this is an issue where we we two weeks into our new term are already looking at the next election and it's sad and that disappoints me.
Marie Harf: [00:05:08] Congressman I agree with you I think it's so frustrating to most people because you know guys I sit here and talk every night about possible compromises and things we try to find that we can and agree on how do you and this is staying a little existential I'm going to do that for a second because I think you're on to something. How do you try to break that. I mean how. I think there's things we as citizens can do. How do you as a member of Congress try and break that fever right now.
Rep. Kinzinger: [00:05:37] Well there's a biblical principles. The tighter you hold onto your life the more apt you are to lose it. And I try to without trying to sound cool. I try to do that in my political career which is if you sit. And I think it's the benefit of being young. Because I know this isn't going to be my last job in life. And there are some people out here where this is their crowning jewel of everything they've wanted and they do not want to lose this job. And so they stare at polls. They stare at what the base wants. They know they have to get through a primary. You know even in a district that's more swing you have to get through a primary with people that it's either a deep blue primary or a deep red primary. And we are playing now and all of our policies to 30 percent of the country on either side were actually less than that. What I try to do is just to say look you know I wasn't sent out here to get reelected. I was sent out here to do the best I can with the time I have and I'm going to continue to speak out. I'm going to put great compromises out there. Look if Democrats could come off the position of no wall whatsoever I think Republicans then should you know I can yell at Republicans say we've got to come off our position of calling everything amnesty. Not everything is amnesty. You know and we can really fix this problem. All you can do is just be an example and be outspoken about it. But it is I tell you what the people listening and listeners I don't care how far right or far left you are. You have got to demand your politicians come out here and do what the Constitution was written to force which is compromise and it's not a dirty word.
Guy Benson: [00:07:07] Congressman Kinzinger are you guys are talking big picture here. And meanwhile I'm sitting in this studio contemplating how a wallaby a small kangaroo could possibly be part of this compromise. We can find them. I'm going to ponder that one.
Marie Harf: [00:07:22] Stranger things have happened in the United States Congress.
Guy Benson: [00:07:25] Because they have an adorable Wallaby hopping with the compromise bill and everyone is just so taken by the adorable ness that that people are willing to vote for a compromise. This is these are these are the things that bounce around in my head that I usually don't talk about out loud but here I am doing so on national radio. Congressman I want to change gears from domestic politics and look to Afghanistan. We had General Jack Keane on the show last night talking about a story that has been I think almost criminally underplayed in the media which is these negotiations with the Taliban to potentially withdraw U.S. forces from that country in exchange for some sort of assurance that they won't the Taliban that is won't allow that country to become a springboard for terrorism again in the future. You served in Afghanistan as well as some other places. What do you think of these negotiations. And you know what. What are your optimistic thoughts on it. And do you have any significant drawbacks as you look at this.
Rep. Kinzinger: [00:08:21] Yes. You know you can have a lion and promise to you all he wants he's going to be an herbivore but that doesn't make him an herbivore. And this is the same with the Taliban. I think look every war has to end in a negotiation even even World War II. There was an official surrender. There was a negotiation that takes place even if somebody who's totally defeated. So I think the idea of negotiating with the Taliban is not a bad one I think. But you don't negotiate from a position of weakness. Marie specialty knows her work in the State Department the only way diplomacy works against an adversary is if it's backed up by strength and by a threat. And when the president shows that he wants to leave Afghanistan he says. He tweets about it or he says he's pulling troops out. That gives the Taliban every incentive to negotiate but not to negotiate a real solution just to pretend like they're negotiating to allow the United States to leave and then they go back to take over the government of Afghanistan. So I think if the president it's like what was so successful with the surge in Iraq wasn't the 20000 additional troops that was helpful but it was the fact that when everybody told GeorgeW. Bush to leave Iraq he said not only am I not leaving I'm doubled down I'm doubling down and the enemies of the United States became our friends. And that's what I think needs to happen in Afghanistan. The president was on the right track at the beginning when he added troops and said I won't be defeated but that's when you negotiate. We're not leaving you're not going to beat us on the battlefield you're not going to beat our will. And then I think we can get a solution. You can't get a good solution from a we're going to leave anyway hopefully we can leave here with some peace because you won't get it.
Marie Harf: [00:09:57] Congressman I think what you said is exactly right about diplomacy working best when it's backed up by force or strength. They think that that is is absolutely correct. It's interesting with Afghanistan because it seems like Karzai is trying to run a process that could lead to an orderly withdrawal that could put you know a a in place for an end to the war at some point like it feels like there's something possibly real there. The challenge as you point out is the president on top of that tweeting that he wants to bring people home. So I guess given where we know the president is on bringing troops home and announcing such things on Twitter I mean it's just a fact that's sort of his ammo. How do we try and square that circle and make sure the process is done with as much strength backed up behind it as possible.
Rep. Kinzinger: [00:10:50] Yeah I think you know making it clear if the president says he wants to drawdown that's his prerogative. I believe in presidential perogative on that. But that doesn't mean we're going to exit completely without something that can very strongly be implemented. My hope is that this you know that I'm wrong. My hope is that there is an agreement that comes out that's verifiable enforceable and you know frankly that the Taliban are just tired of this as much as we are right. But we have to understand that they don't think and you know in one year or two year increments they think in terms of generations and we've it would be a shame if we left in 17 years. I mean it's it's not stable but it's relatively stable compared to how it's been. You're not going to lose Afghanistan as long as we're committed to it. But to lose all that work would be heartbreaking and it would lead to some real big problems in the future. So again squaring the circle. You know I think the devil is going to be in the details. I trust you know the negotiators are negotiating. I just think if you could back it up with a message we can't go anywhere. That's much more effective to a favorable enforceable outcome.
Guy Benson: [00:11:55] Congressman Adam Kinzinger a Republican of Illinois is our guest. He serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs so if you'll indulge me Congressman I'd like to bounce back to our hemisphere and Venezuela. I've been pretty proud of the Trump administration's leadership on this issue. What is your thought on what the appropriate role for the United States to play is moving forward as that country is going through a wrenching time.
Rep. Kinzinger: [00:12:21] Yeah like you I've been proud of the president too. And you know I talked to people from Venezuela and from South America all the time and they've been begging for American kind of strength in this issue for a long time. And and so I think that's going to be a central and important. I think the role we can play is what we're playing recognizing the legitimate government of Venezuela which is which is Guaido. Now the acting president. I think recognizing that in the diplomatic circles some diplomats in the United States Venezuelan. Even though they were pulled out by Maduro have stayed at the request of Guiteau. This is all important I think frankly having a military option ready. That doesn't mean we're going to do a military option. But understanding that if he simply refuses to leave and you see violence in that region just the idea of an American involvement I guarantee you the military will abandon their posts at that point they don't want to fight the United States and then obviously being ready to help our ally Colombia that's hosting millions of refugees right now out of Venezuela and probably more to come and be there to rebuild. You know this is back to the old Monroe Doctrine. We have neglected our hemisphere for a very long time at great cost. And I think being involved is going to be essential. And I am blown away that I have seen politicians out here that have basically tweeted support for Maduro or attacked President Trump on this. And you know God forbid we get to a point where we're supporting dictators in Latin America.
Guy Benson: [00:13:48] Congressman Adam Kinzinger Republican of Illinois thank you so much for your time tonight. And our thoughts are with your constituents as they try to stay warm in really frigid temperatures out in the Midwest. Thank you Congressman.
Rep. Kinzinger: [00:14:00] Yeah I want to thank you guys for a good political discussion even though you guys disagree. We need more of that.
Guy Benson: [00:14:05] Thank thank you. We'll do our best. We're going to take a quick break and we'll be right back with much more Benson and Harf