President Donald Trump said Saturday that he had canceled a previously-undisclosed summit at Camp David with Taliban leadership and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani after the Taliban took responsibility for an attack earlier this week that killed a U.S. soldier.
The abrupt disclosure appeared to deal a significant blow to the ongoing peace talks between the United States and the Taliban, as Trump said in a string of tweets Saturday evening that he has “called off peace negotiations” and accused the Taliban of perpetrating the attacks to strengthen their negotiating hand.
“What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position?” Trump tweeted on Saturday. “They didn’t, they only made it worse!”
He continued: “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?”
The Taliban claimed responsibility for a car bombing Thursday morning that had killed two NATO service members, including one American, in a heavily fortified part of central Kabul. The attack came just days after the top U.S. negotiator in the ongoing peace talks with the Taliban had announced that he had reached a deal “in principle.”
Trump said the Taliban’s taking responsibility for the attack was to “build false leverage” in the peace talks. The U.S. death is the 16th American troop killed in combat in Afghanistan this year.
(c) 2019, The Washington Post · Seung Min Kim, Anne Gearan