Washington: Asserting that the Afghan peace talks are dead, US President Donald Trump attributed the end in the negotiations to the Taliban and said that the group is now being hit harder than ever before.
Speaking to reporters at the White House on Wednesday, Trump blamed the Taliban for the end in the deliberations after the group claimed responsibility of a terrorist attack in Kabul last week that left 12 dead, including an American soldier.
“I’ll tell you one thing–we are hitting the Taliban right now harder than they’ve ever been hit,”Trump said The US president said that the Taliban did this because they thought by doing this, they will have an upper hand in negotiations.
“What they did was horrible… When they killed a great American soldier–when they killed 12 people–innocent people– essentially, innocent people because if you look, I mean many of these people were civilians,”he said.
“You also had a NATO soldier in addition to our great soldier. But when they did what they did in order to create what they thought was a better negotiating stance I said that’s the end of them–get them out. I don’t want anything to do with them. They’ve been hit very hard,”he said.
“I know for a fact they said that was a big mistake that they made and it was. But, that was my decision and what we’re doing now is my decision,”he said when asked about his decision to invite the Taliban to Camp David for talks and then cancelling it abruptly.
“The talks with the Taliban are dead,”Trump said.
On Saturday last, the US president cancelled a “secret” summit with Taliban leaders and his Afghan counterpart following the attack in Kabul, dealing a blow to protracted negotiations that were nearing a peace deal to end America’s longest war.
Trump was to meet Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and senior Taliban leaders on Sunday last week at his Camp David retreat after nine rounds of talks between the US and Taliban representatives, held in Doha, the capital of the Gulf state of Qatar.
Trump’s US negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad had announced a peace deal “in principle” with the Taliban on Monday last.
As part of the proposed deal, the US would withdraw 5,400 troops from Afghanistan within 20 weeks. The US currently has about 14,000 troops in the country.