US President Donald Trump says he has called off peace negotiations with the Taliban after the group admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed at least 10 people, including a US soldier.
In a series of tweets, Mr. Trump said he had been set to meet senior Taliban leaders, and separately, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, at Camp David on Sunday. However, he canceled the meeting and called off negotiations after the group admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed a US soldier.
Trump said if the Taliban 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.
The US and the Taliban “agreed in principle” on a deal after nine rounds of talks in Doha and UAE, according to US chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad.
In an interview with TOLOnews last week, Mr. Khalilzad said the United States and the Taliban have reached “agreed in principle” on a deal, but added that it is not final until US President Trump agrees on it.
Mr. Khalilzad said that based on the draft agreement, the US will withdraw 5,000 troops from five bases in Afghanistan within 135 days if conditions in the agreement are addressed by the Taliban.
On May 9, the sixth round of US-Taliban talks ended in the Qatari capital, Doha. The talks so far have been focused on four key issues: US forces withdrawal, counterterrorism assurances, a ceasefire, and intra-Afghan negotiations.
Last week, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington is not seeking a permanent military presence in Afghanistan after the Taliban said they are close to finalizing a peace agreement with the United States.
The Afghan conflict has cost almost 2,400 American lives and hundreds of billions in taxpayer dollars. As the war approaches its 18th year, 14,000 US troops are still in Afghanistan and senior intelligence officials have repeatedly warned that the country remains fragile and could once again become a terrorist haven.