NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with Ryan Crocker, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, about why Crocker thinks the American plan to withdraw from Afghanistan is surrender.
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: The U.S. is trying to negotiate a peace deal to leave Afghanistan. And some Americans who know the country best say the deal on the table now is effectively a surrender. That's what Ryan Crocker argues in The Washington Post this week. He was U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and has spent decades as a diplomat in the Middle East and Asia. Welcome.
RYAN CROCKER: Thanks for having me, Ari.
SHAPIRO: Do you think it's a mistake for the U.S. to negotiate with the Taliban at all, or do you just think this particular negotiation is misguided?
CROCKER: So here's the thing. The Taliban for years has laid out its position that they are ready to talk to us anytime. They will not talk with the government of Afghanistan because they consider it illegitimate. We caved on that. We are now talking directly to the Taliban. The Afghan government is not in the room. If that's the course we continue on, it will totally delegitimize the Afghan government. And I think there is no outcome I could see from doing that that wouldn't effectively be a surrender, and we're just negotiating the terms...
Ambassador Crocker served as U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon from 1990-1993; Kuwait from 1994-1997; Syria from 1998-2001; Iraq from 2007-2009; and Afghanistan from 2011-2012.