Trump: Peace talks with Taliban are 'dead'

Trump says US military has dramatically scaled up attacks on Taliban in Afghanistan after his cancellation of talks with the group.

Ben Ariel,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump declared on Monday said that US peace talks with the Taliban are “dead” as far as he’s concerned, adding the US military has dramatically scaled up attacks on the insurgents in Afghanistan, AFP reported.

"They are dead. As far as I am concerned, they are dead," Trump said at the White House about the long-running attempt to reach an agreement with the Taliban and extricate US troops from the country after 18 years of war.

The announcement followed Trump's cancelation of a secret plan to fly Taliban leaders in for direct talks at the Camp David presidential retreat over the weekend.

"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 night.

"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 added.

"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 wrote.

On Monday, Trump said that a US military onslaught on the guerrillas was now at its fiercest in a decade.

"Over the last four days, we have been hitting our Enemy harder than at any time in the last ten years!" he said in a tweet.

Trump’s announcement on Saturday came two days after a US soldier and another service member from Romania were killed in a car bombing in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.

The cancellation of the secret talks ended the diplomatic process led for nearly a year by Zalmay Khalilzad, the Afghan-born veteran US diplomat who has been meeting with the Taliban in Qatar.

Afghanistan's internationally recognized president, Ashraf Ghani, had been outspoken in his criticism of the shape of the withdrawal agreement with the Taliban, who have refused to negotiate with his government.

According to parts of the draft deal that had been made public, the Pentagon would pull about 5,000 of the roughly 13,000 US troops from five bases across Afghanistan by early next year.

The insurgents in turn will renounce Al-Qaeda, promise to fight the Islamic State (ISIS) group and stop jihadists using Afghanistan as a safe haven.

In 2017, Trump stressed that he intended to employ a “fight to win” strategy which would include ratcheting up the fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

In response, the Taliban threatened that "If America doesn´t withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, soon Afghanistan will become another graveyard for this superpower in the 21st century."