Trump Cancels Secret Camp David Meeting With Taliban Officials
President Donald Trump decided to call off a secret meeting at Camp David with Taliban and Afghan leaders, after a suicide car bomb attack in Kabul killed 12 people, including an American soldier.
In a thread of tweets explaining his decision to cancel the meeting, Trump wrote, “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.”
His original peace talk plan, which was for the three parties to hold discussions at Camp David received bipartisan backlash, as both Vice President Mike Pence and National Security Advisor, John Bolton discouraged the meeting.
Many members of Trump’s national security team doubted that the Taliban could hold up their end of the deal, and thought that it would be an embarrassment when the deal fell through. Others questioned whether it was a good idea to host the Taliban three days before the anniversary of 9/11.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo supported Trump’s plan, believing that the deal would allow the U.S. to withdraw troops. According to the New York Times, the plan called for the Taliban to ensure certain counterterrorism measures in exchange for the gradual withdrawal of 14,000 American troops. If such a deal was reached, it would bolster support for Trump in time for the presidential primaries.
Pompeo told news outlets that it was ultimately Trump’s decision to both arrange the meeting and call it off.
“It was the case that when the Taliban tried to gain a negotiating advantage by conducting terror attacks inside the country, President Trump made the right decision to cancel the meeting,” Pompeo told CNN. “It made no sense for the Taliban to be rewarded for that kind of bad behavior.”
An anonymous Taliban official shared a different story on why the talks were canceled, saying that the Taliban had declined the offer. He told NBC that because the Taliban will not recognize the legitimacy of the Afghan government, they refuse to hold direct talks with Afghanistan president, Ashraf Ghani. He said that this “apparently provoked the president and he suspended peace talks in reaction.”
However, these claims could not be corroborated.
Although talks have stalled, Pompeo and Trump both hope negotiations can eventually reopen.
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