Post Reports

‘As far as I’m concerned, they’re dead.’ How Trump’s peace talks with the Taliban broke down.

Karen DeYoung explains the collapse of U.S. peace talks in Afghanistan. Rachael Bade on the implications of an impeachment probe. And Anthony Faiola describes the human toll and destruction of Hurricane Dorian.
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Peace talks with the Taliban have fallen apart. What happens next?
President Trump announced Monday that U.S. peace talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan are “dead.” This comes after news this weekend, when Trump announced that he had canceled a secret meeting at Camp David with Taliban and Afghan leaders, stalling the effort to secure a deal to end the 18-year war and begin a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. 

His decision came after weeks of uncertainty, insurgent violence and a deadly attack in Kabul that killed 12 people, including a U.S. service member. Outside the negotiations, an array of politicians, military leaders and diplomats warned that a hasty deal and troop pullout could lead to chaos and civil war. 

National security adviser John Bolton, a vocal critic of the potential peace deal, was omitted from negotiations. He has not opposed reducing the current U.S. troop level to 8,600 — about the number in Afghanistan when Trump took office — but rejects any deal with the Taliban. Bolton instead argues the president can simply decide on a reduction without a deal.

“At some point, [the president] will say, ‘This is what I want to do,’” says national security reporter Karen DeYoung. “And I believe that will be based not only on what’s happening in Afghanistan, but also on what the political impact is here.”

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‘They don’t think they should be running forward on something that’s so divisive’
The House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote this week on a resolution giving itself additional tools to investigate President Trump — its first formal step toward possibly beginning impeachment proceedings.

The Democratic base and 2020 presidential candidates increasingly favor an impeachment inquiry, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Democrats in Republican-leaning districts have been reluctant. 

Congressional reporter Rachael Bade joined other Post reporters in attending town halls across the country. In Pennsylvania, she took the temperature of Rep. Susan Wild’s (D-Pa.) blue-collar, industrial district, which narrowly flipped blue during the last election. 

“Constituents did ask about impeachment,” Bade says, “and her response was, ‘I’m a former lawyer, and we don’t have enough evidence yet.’” She says that Wild and other Democrats worry that a likely acquittal by Senate Republicans would give the president a free ride. “That only empowers him.” 

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‘We need to get off this island.’ Days after Dorian, the Bahamas still reeling.
Hurricane Dorian slammed into the Bahamas as a Category 5 storm on Sept. 1, battering Grand Bahama, the Abacos and other islands for several days. 

Anthony Faiola, The Post’s bureau chief for South America and the Caribbbean, has been reporting on the aftermath from Marsh Harbour, which was ground zero in Dorian’s path.

“Everybody is still sort of in shock there,” Faiola says. “They had seen hurricanes before in those parts, and I think a lot of them felt that it was going to be something on par with the hurricanes they had felt before. But it was the unprecedented nature of the strength — not even the shelters could withstand the force of the storm.”

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About Post Reports

Post Reports is the daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Everything you’ve come to expect from the newsroom of The Post -- for your ears.