Taliban says Trump sabotaged finalised Afghanistan deal as experts doubt Kabul attack was real reason for cancellation
Donald Trump has declared talks between the US and the Taliban dead after he called off a Camp David meeting over the weekend, triggering fears of a spike in violence in Afghanistan in the run-up to presidential elections due later this month.
Trump announced on Sunday that he had cancelled secret Camp David meetings with the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, and Taliban leaders, following a car bomb attack in Kabul on Thursday. And he said negotiations with the Taliban, which appeared to have been close to a deal, were at an end.
Theyre dead so far as Im concerned, Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House. They thought that to kill people in order to put themselves in a little better negotiating position when they did that they killed 12 people And you cant do that cant do that with me. So theyre dead as far as Im concerned. And weve hit the Taliban harder at the last four days than theyve been in over 10 years.
Trumps tweeted announcement on Saturday came as a shock in Washington and Kabul, where there was disbelief that the president would have invited the Taliban to an iconic presidential venue in the same week as the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
There was also scepticism that the bombing of Thursday in Kabul was the real reason the talks were called off.
The Taliban issued a statement saying an agreement had been finalised and that talks had ended in a good atmosphere but the deal had been sabotaged by Trump.
Reacting to just one attack, just before the signing of the agreement, shows neither patience nor experience, the statement said.
The Taliban would continue their jihad against foreign occupation, the statement said. Now, the announcement by the president of the United States, Donald Trump, of an end to negotiations with the Islamic Emirate [the Taliban] will harm America more than anyone else; it will harm its credibility, and further expose its anti-peace stance to the world; it would [result in] an increase in financial damage and casualties to its forces.
The Taliban are expected to step up attacks on preparations for presidential elections on 28 September.
President Ghani had been opposed to the US-Taliban deal negotiated in Qatar by the US special envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, because the Afghan government had been excluded from the talks, and the agreement reportedly gave no guarantees on the holding of this months election or the survival of the Kabul government. Nor did it commit the Taliban to talking directly to Ghani or his ministers.
According to most accounts, the agreement was extremely limited, exchanging the offer of a US troop withdrawal for a Taliban undertaking that attacks on the US would not be launched from Afghanistan.
To satisfy his own ego and narrow political interests, Trump was willing to host the Taliban at Camp David and force [the] Afghanistan government to agree to a deal that benefited the Taliban only, Vali Nasr, a former US special adviser on Afghanistan and Pakistan, said on Twitter. And he couldnt even pull that off.
Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, said that Khalilzad had been recalled from Qatar and that it was up to the Taliban when talks would resume.
The president ultimately made the conclusion that the meetings today wouldnt deliver on the outcome that he is demanding we get for the American people, Pompeo told CBS News on Sunday. And when he saw that, when he saw that they couldnt deliver on the reduction in violence commitments that they had made, he said theres no sense in having this meeting.
According to Time, Pompeo had refused to sign the agreement in principle Khalilzad had said he reached in Doha after nearly a year of talks because of his doubts about the deal and because the Taliban wanted to sign the agreement as the Islamic Emirate of Taliban, a recognition the secretary of state was not ready to bestow.