Trump calls off secret meeting with Taliban, Afghan leaders




 

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump said Saturday he canceled a secret weekend meeting at Camp David with Taliban and Afghanistan leaders after a bombing this week in Kabul that killed 11 people, including an American soldier, and has called off peace negotiations with the insurgent group.

Trump has been under pressure from the Afghan government, lawmakers and some members of his administration who mistrust the Taliban and think it's too early to withdraw American forces. The administration's diplomat talking to the Taliban leaders for months in recent days said he was on the "threshold" of an agreement with the Taliban aimed at ending America's longest war.

"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 Saturday evening.

"They were coming to the United States tonight. 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," he wrote.

On Thursday, a Taliban car bomb exploded and killed an American soldier, a Romanian service member and 10 civilians in a busy diplomatic area near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. The bombing was one of many attacks by the Taliban in recent days during U.S.-Taliban talks.

The Defense Department says Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz, 34, from Morovis, Puerto Rico, was killed in action when the explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was the fourth U.S. service member killed in the past two weeks in Afghanistan.

"What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position? They didn't, they only made it worse!" Trump tweeted. "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?"

It's unclear if the U.S.-Taliban talks are over or only paused.

The U.S. envoy negotiating with the Taliban, Zalmay Khalilzad, abruptly returned to Qatar late last week for unexpected talks with the insurgents on the deal that he had described as complete just days earlier. Khalilzad said last Monday that the agreement "in principle" to begin a U.S. troop withdrawal only needed Trump's approval.

Since Khalilzad's announcement, two horrific Taliban car bombings in the Afghan capital, Kabul - including the one that killed the U.S. soldier - and objections to the deal from the Afghan government and several former U.S. ambassadors to Afghanistan have put pressure on the Trump administration as many wonder whether a deal will truly bring peace.

The Taliban have explained their surge in deadly attacks, which have included the capitals of northern Kunduz and Baghlan provinces last weekend, as necessary to give them a stronger negotiating position in talks with the U.S. That stance has appalled Afghans and others as scores of civilians have been killed.

On Friday, Khalilzad met with Taliban lead negotiator Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Scott Miller, with Qatar's foreign minister present, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said in a tweet late in the evening. Both Thursday's and Friday's meetings were "positive," he said.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Trump says he
Trump says he's 'too busy' to watch impeachment inquiry hearing, but he's tweeting about it

"He's not watching - he's working," White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said. Trump is in fact in the Oval Office, which is not outfitted with TVs

UF students threaten impeachment for Trump Jr.
UF students threaten impeachment for Trump Jr.'s visit

The student body president of the University of Florida is facing an impeachment threat for spending $50,000 in student fees to bring Trump's eldest son and his girlfriend to campus. Members of the university's student senate filed a resolution on Tuesday to impeach Student Body President Michael Murphy

Split Supreme Court appears ready to allow Trump to end DACA
Split Supreme Court appears ready to allow Trump to end DACA

Sharply at odds with liberal justices, the Supreme Court's conservative majority seemed ready Tuesday to allow the Trump administration to abolish protections that permit 660,000 immigrants to work in the U.S., free from the threat of deportation. President Donald Trump said on Twitter that DACA

Feud Between Trump Advisers Underscores a White House Torn by Rivalries
Feud Between Trump Advisers Underscores a White House Torn by Rivalries
  • World
  • 2019-11-12 13:40:40Z

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's chief of staff and former national security adviser clashed in court Monday. Two new books describe how top aides to the president secretly plotted to circumvent him. And nearly every day brings more testimony about the deep internal schism over the president's effort to pressure Ukraine for domestic political help.In the three years since his election, Trump has never been accused of running a cohesive, unified team. But the revelations of recent days have put on display perhaps more starkly than ever the fissures tearing at his administration. In the emerging picture, the Trump White House is a toxic stew of personality disputes, policy...

Judge dismisses Trump lawsuit against NY officials, House committee over taxes
Judge dismisses Trump lawsuit against NY officials, House committee over taxes

A federal judge on Monday issued another blow to President Donald Trump and his ongoing effort to avoid having his tax records turned over to Congress. U.S. Judge Carl Nichols granted a motion to dismiss a lawsuit that Trump filed in July over the TRUST Act in New York, which gave Congress the authority to retrieve tax information from New York residents.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America