President Donald Trump announced Saturday that he canceled secret meetings with Taliban leaders and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani scheduled to take place at Camp David. Trump decided to call off the meetings after the Taliban took responsibility fo ran attack in Kabul last week that killed an 12 people, one of which was an American soldier. Taliban leaders, however, say that Americans’ lives are now in danger because of Trump’s decision, Reuters reported.
“This will lead to more losses to the U.S.,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said in a statement. “Its credibility will be affected, its anti-peace stance will be exposed to the world, losses to lives and assets will increase.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States is putting peace talks on hold and will not reduce troops in Afghanistan, like previously expected, until the Taliban can hold up their end of the bargain.
American diplomats and Taliban leaders have been in talks for months. President Trump has wanted to end the United States’ involvement in Afghanistan, something he campaigned on during the 2016 election. Trump was committed to withdrawing thousands of troops in exchange for the Taliban’s security guarantees.
Fighting has erupted in Afghanistan, which has made Ghani critical of any peace deals. On Tuesday, nine former United States ambassadors warned that a “total civil war” could erupt in Afghanistan if President Trump withdraws troops before Taliban leaders and the Afghan government fail to reach a peace agreement.
Pompeo, however, said the United States wouldn’t withdraw troops because of a “timeline.”
“President Trump made clear we’re not just going to withdraw because there’s a timeline. We’re only going to reduce our forces when certain conditions are met,” Pompeo said on CNN.
Author: Beth Baumann