Trump cancels secret meeting with Taliban leaders, Afghan president after attack

Source: The Hill | September 7, 2019 | John Bowden and Morgan Chalfant

President Trump announced Saturday he had canceled a planned secret meeting with leaders of the Taliban and Afghanistan’s president at Camp David.

Trump also said he had called off negotiations with the insurgent group after Taliban leadership claimed credit for a deadly attack in Kabul.

The announcement came days before the 18th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks. 

In a series of tweets, the president condemned Taliban commanders for an attack in the Afghan capital that killed 11 civilians and a U.S. service member and questioned whether the leaders of the militant group could negotiate a “meaningful” peace agreement. 

Trump said that the Taliban had admitted to the suicide car bombing “in order to build false leverage” and that he had called off negotiations with the Afghan insurgent group as a result, scuttling negotiations when the two sides appeared close to reaching a deal. It was not immediately clear if the president’s tweets would permanently stop negotiations.

“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. 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,” Trump tweeted.

“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?” he asked.

“They didn’t, they only made it worse! 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?” Trump finished.

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