US President Donald Trump has scuttled hope of peace breaking out in Afghanistan by ordering US negotiators to walk away from peace talks with the the Taliban.
Trump said he had planned a secret meeting with the Taliban’s “major leaders” on Sunday at Camp David, along with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
That meeting was cancelled, Trump said on Twitter, because “unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, they [the Taliban] admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great great soldiers, and 11 other people”.
He said on Twitter that meeting had been cancelled and peace talks with the Taliban suspended.
“I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations,” Trump added. “What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position?”
Two NATO soldiers, one US and one Romanian, are among 12 people killed in the car bombing at a security post near NATO’s Resolute Support mission headquarters in Kabul on Thursday.
….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. What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position? They didn’t, they….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 7, 2019
Taliban fighters, who now control more territory than at any time since 2001, launched fresh assaults on the northern cities of Kunduz and Pul-e Khumri over the past week and carried out two major suicide bombings in the capital Kabul.
One of the blasts, a suicide attack in Kabul on Thursday, took the life of U.S. Army Sergeant 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz, 34, from Puerto Rico, bringing the number of American troops killed in Afghanistan this year to 16.
A spike in attacks by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan has been “particularly unhelpful” to peace efforts there, a senior U.S. military commander said on Saturday as he visited neighbouring Pakistan, where many Taliban militants are based.