President Donald Trump has said the Afghanistan peace talks with the Taliban are “dead”. Speaking to reporters at the White House Trump said the United States had hit the group harder in the last four days than any time in 10 years. “They (talks with the Taliban) are dead. As far as I’m concerned, they’re dead,” he said.
“They (the Taliban) thought that (they) had to kill people in order to put themselves in a little better negotiating position.... You can’t do that with me,” Trump said while responding to a question about his decision to cancel the talks.
“We have hit the Taliban harder in the last four days than they have been hit in over 10 years. So that’s the way it is.”
Trump said the decision to invite the Taliban to Camp David was his, and so was the call to cancel it.
The Taliban, Trump said, did a mistake. “We want to get out (of Afghanistan). But we’ll get out at the right time,” he said.
“We have been serving as policemen in Afghanistan, and that was not meant to be the job of our Great Soldiers, the finest on earth,” Trump tweeted earlier. “Over the last four days, we have been hitting our Enemy harder than at any time in the last ten years!”
Some 20,000 US and NATO forces remain in Afghanistan after formally ending their combat role in 2014.
Fearing a return to power of the hardline Taliban, many worry the deal and subsequent negotiations will lead to a reduction in personal freedoms and limited women’s rights that modern Afghans have grown accustomed to.
US troops were first sent to Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 attacks carried out by Al-Qaeda, which was sheltered by the former Taliban regime. Washington now wants to end its military involvement—the longest in its history—and has been talking to the Taliban since at least 2018.