National Security & Defense

Trump: Peace Talks with Taliban ‘Dead’ after Attack Kills American Soldier

President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before boarding Air Force One at Morristown Municipal Airport in Morristown, N.J., August 15, 2019. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

President Trump said Monday that peace negotiations with the Taliban are “dead as far as I’m concerned” after the terrorist group claimed responsibility for a bombing in Afghanistan that killed an American service member.

Trump called off a secret meeting with Taliban leaders and representatives of the Afghanistan government, which had been planned for Sunday at Camp David, after the Taliban claimed its members carried out a suicide bombing in Kabul that killed twelve people, including a U.S. soldier. Critics had called the plan to meet for peace negotiations days before the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks disrespectful.

“It was my idea,” the president told reporters about canceling the meeting. “I didn’t discuss it with anybody else. When I heard . . . that they killed one of our soldiers and 12 other innocent people, there’s no way I’m meeting.”

Trump further claimed that reports that he had overruled advisers, including national- security adviser John Bolton and the vice president, to schedule the meeting in the first place are false.

Trump also criticized the prolonged U.S. presence in Afghanistan, recalling his promise to bring home the approximately 14,000 American troops currently stationed in the war-torn country.

“We’re going to walk away from a deal if others try to use violence to achieve better ends in the negotiations,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday of the canceled meeting. “It’s not right. It’s not appropriate. It killed an American. And it made no sense for the Taliban to be rewarded for that kind of bad behavior.”

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