President Donald Trump has canceled scheduled peace talks with the Taliban and Afghan government leaders that were to take place last weekend at Camp David due to the death of an American soldier and others prior to the meeting.
The president announced that he had planned to hold a secret meeting with the Taliban and Afghan leaders at Camp David, but he decided to cancel it. Trump received harsh criticism for this secret meeting due to the fact that it had been scheduled just days before the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks, which many found disturbing. The president told reporters at the White House on Monday that it was his plan to hold the secret meeting as well as his plan to cancel them.
“They’re dead, they’re dead. As far as I’m concerned, they are dead,” Trump told reporters.
President Trump said he canceled the scheduled meeting because the Taliban “admitted” to killing a U.S. soldier and 11 others in Kabul just a couple of days before the planned talks.
“You can’t do that. You can’t do that with me,” the president told reporters.
Trump also said, that “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.”
The Taliban told CBS News that the attacks were justified to give them a stronger position in negotiations with the U.S.
“I immediately canceled the meeting and called off peace negotiations. What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position?” said the president. “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?” President Trump concluded.
Reporters seemed to have an issue with the location of the scheduled talks and questioned the president about choosing Camp David for the meeting, and he told them, “The alternative was the White House, and you wouldn’t have been happy with that either.”
The administration has been constantly defending the president’s decision to schedule and then cancel the Camp David meeting since he posted it on his social media account Saturday. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo indicated that the administration wants a lasting agreement that will finally put an end to the 18-year war against militants in Afghanistan. He said on Friday that the Trump administration has “made a lot of progress in convincing the Taliban to make some commitments that, frankly, we’ve been trying to get out of them for almost two decades now.”
Pompeo added, “We thought about this a long time and ultimately the president made the decision that this was the right place. We know the history of Camp David. That’s where peace has been negotiated many, many times.” Pompeo was referring to the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt in which the U.S. played an integral part. “And sadly you often have to deal with some pretty bad characters to get peace.”