Washington, Sep 8 US President Donald Trump has called off “secret” meeting with the Taliban and his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani at Camp David, and also called off peace talks with the militant group entirely.
Trump cited Taliban claimed Kabul attack last week as the reason behind cancelling the talks between the United States and the Taliban that started in October 2018 in Qatar in an effort to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan.
“Unbeknownst to almost everyone, the major Taliban leaders and, separately, the President of Afghanistan, were going to secretly meet with me at Camp David on Sunday,” Trump tweeted on Saturday.
“unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, they admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great great soldiers, and 11 other people. I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position?” Trump added.
“…only made it worse! If they cannot agree to a ceasefire during these very important peace talks, and would even kill 12 innocent people, then they probably don’t have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway. How many more decades are they willing to fight?”Trump tweeted.
The sudden announcement of cancellation comes after Washington and the Taliban on September 2 concluded their ninth round of negotiations in the Qatari capital after more than a year of intensive negotiations, with US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad saying that a peace agreement had been finalised “in principle” which provides for the withdrawal of 5,000 US troops 135 days after signing.
US-Taliban talks over a potential agreement have focused on four key issues:
The Taliban has insisted that the troop withdrawal of US and NATO forces is a fundamental issue in reaching an agreement.
US wants Taliban guarantee that it will not allow foreign armed groups and fighters to use Afghanistan as a launchpad to conduct attacks outside the country
The Taliban has refused to meet the Afghan government until a pact with Washington was formalized.
A permanent ceasefire.
The war in Afghanistan is the longest-running conflict with US troops stationed in the country for 18 years.The Taliban was overthrown in 2001 by a US-led military coalition for sheltering al-Qaeda, the group which orchestrated the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US.