President Donald Trump has said that US peace talks with the Taliban are “dead” and that he is ramping the war back up after canceling secret talks with the Afghan insurgents at his weekend retreat.
“They are dead. As far as I am concerned, they are dead,” Trump said at the White House about the long-running attempt to reach an agreement with the Taliban and extricate US troops following 18 years of war.
The announcement followed Trump’s dramatic cancellation of a top-secret plan to fly Taliban leaders in for direct talks at the Camp David presidential facility outside Washington.
Driving another nail into the coffin of what had appeared to be nearly finalized negotiations, Trump said that a US military onslaught on the guerrillas was back up at its fiercest in a decade.
“Over the last four days, we have been hitting our Enemy harder than at any time in the last ten years!” he wrote in a tweet.
He tweeted, “We have been serving as policemen in Afghanistan, and that was not meant to be the job of our Great Soldiers, the finest on earth”.
On Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that “we’ve killed over a thousand Taliban in just the last 10 days.”
Pakistan has urged the United States and the Taliban to “re-engage to find [a] negotiated peace from the ongoing political settlement process” in Afghanistan.
The Foreign Office of Pakistan said late Sunday that it had learnt about the cancellation of US President Donald Trump’s meeting with the Taliban and Afghan government representatives at Camp David.
Trump angrily denied that the whiplash effect of his sudden shifts on Afghanistan was causing turmoil.
Until this weekend, there had been steadily mounting expectations of a deal that would see the United States draw down troop levels in Afghanistan. In return, the Taliban would offer security guarantees to keep extremist groups out.
But then on Saturday, Trump revealed that he had canceled an unprecedented meeting between the Taliban and himself at storied Camp David. He said this was in retaliation for the killing of a US soldier by the Taliban in a huge Kabul bomb blast last week.