Taliban Says Trump’s Decision to Cancel Afghan Talks Will Mean U.S. Lives Lost

FILE PHOTO: Afghan presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani speaks during the first day of the presidential election campaign in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 28, 2019. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani
FILE PHOTO: Afghan presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani speaks during the first day of the presidential election campaign in Kabul, Afghanistan, July 28, 2019. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

The Taliban on Sunday said U.S. President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to cancel peace talks would lead to fresh losses to American lives in Afghanistan at a time when the insurgent group was ready to finalize a deal to end the war.

The Islamist group issued a statement hours after Trump unexpectedly canceled talks with the Taliban’s “major leaders” at a presidential compound in Camp David following the Taliban’s claim of responsibility for an attack in Kabul last week that killed an American soldier and 11 others.

“Both sides (U.S., Taliban) were busy with preparation for the announcement and signing the peace deal, but now the U.S president called off the peace dialogue… this will lead to more losses to the U.S.,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said in a statement.

“Its (U.S.) credibility will be effected, its anti-peace stance will be exposed to the world, losses to lives and assets will increase,” he said.

“We will stay committed if the path of negotiation is chosen instead of fighting…we won’t be satisfied until there is an end to the foreign occupation of our country,” he said.

U.S. diplomats have been talking with Taliban representatives for months seeking to agree to a plan to withdraw thousands of American troops in exchange for security guarantees by the Taliban.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, seeking a second tenure in twice-postponed elections scheduled for Sept. 28, urged the Taliban to end violence and talk directly to his government after Trump canceled the meeting.

“Real peace will come when Taliban agree to a ceasefire,” Ghani’s officials said in a statement in response to Trump’s cancellation of the talks.

However the Taliban have so far refused to talk to the Afghan government, which they consider an illegitimate “puppet” regime.

Almost 4,000 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in the first half of 2019 in the war against militant groups, including a big increase in the number of casualties caused by government and foreign forces, the United Nations said in July.

As negotiators reached a draft accord last week, Taliban fighters, who now control more territory than at any time since the war started in 2001, were launching assaults on the northern cities of Kunduz and Pul-e Khumri. They claimed responsibility for two major suicide bombings in the capital Kabul.

Trump’s surprise announcement left in doubt the future of a draft peace accord worked out last week by Zalmay Khalilzad, the special U.S. envoy for peace in Afghanistan.

Under the draft some 5,000 U.S. troops would be withdrawn over the coming months in exchange for guarantees Afghanistan would not be used as a base for militant attacks on the United States and its allies.

A full peace agreement to end more than 18 years of war would depend on “intra-Afghan” talks involving officials and civil society leaders as well as further agreement on issues including the remainder of the roughly 14,000-strong U.S. forces as well as thousands of other NATO troops.

CIVIL WAR

The Taliban’s strategy of fresh assaults appears to be based on the assumption that battlefield success would strengthen their hand in future negotiations with U.S and Afghan officials.

Some of their field commanders have also said they are determined not to surrender gains when they are close to victory, suggesting the leadership is under internal pressure not to concede a ceasefire.

The warring sides have held nine rounds of peace talks in Qatar’s capital city Doha aimed at ending America’s longest war, which began with a U.S. invasion triggered by the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York, that al Qaeda launched from then Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

Nine former U.S. ambassadors last week had warned that Afghanistan could collapse in a “total civil war” if Trump withdraws all U.S. forces before the Kabul government and the Taliban conclude a peace settlement.

Trump said on Saturday that he had also planned to meet with Afghanistan’s president, who has been sidelined from the talks.

Ghani’s office said in a statement it was committed to working together with the United States and allies for a “dignified and long-lasting peace”, and emphasized the need to hold the presidential election this month.

The Taliban want the elections to be canceled as a precondition to signing a peace accord with the Americans. In Kabul, uncertainty over peace deal and Taliban warnings to boycott polls had dampened election enthusiasm.

The European Union’s special envoy for Afghanistan Roland Kobia said on Sunday presidential elections must be held this month as the country needs a political leadership that has received a renewed democratic mandate from its citizens.

“It seems today that the EU line advising preparation of elections in parallel and as if there was no Afghan peace process was not unwise. Elections become more necessary by the hour,” Kobia wrote in a Twitter post.

(Additional reporting by Orooj Hakimi, Writing by Rupam Jain in Kabul, Editing by Michael Perry and Ros Russell)

What do you think?

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Sherri
Member

I guess they want some more war???? Because if they don’t they may want to consider a different tact.

Jeffrey Moore
Member

Really? They want a deal but they’re threatening us? Amazing!

Tim Conger
Member

Making a deal with the taliban would be like making a deal with the devil! They can’t be trusted!

James
Member

Why hasn’t Trump nuked that worthless piece of real estate yet and put an end to their miserable existence as cockroaches resembling human life?

Screwtape
Member

The Taliban has threatened American lives because that’s how savages make their points.
They aren’t even “leaders” of an actual state, q.v. negotiating with the Palestinians.

Any communications must be in terms they can understand, if the message is to be effective. Kill them. Kill those who enable them, whether actively or passively, then leave. Rinse, repeat if they get uppity and kill MORE Americans.

Screwtape
Member

Why are we even there? What’s to gain? We squander American lives and treasures in the Middle East for…..what?

If it’s a matter of security against terrorism then deal with these savages in savage terms. For each incident attributable to them, completely destroy a region. That’s what ADULT superpowers do. Realpolitik.

“But won’t that create more terrorists?” Ummm, they either are or aren’t without our influence and already hate us (note the terrorist incidents). It’s possible the surviving populace (if any) may soon realize that enabling/allowing/joining these extremists is a really bad idea.

William Conley
Guest
William Conley

Why are we even taking to these sub human savages. Here’s how you fight and finish a war you fight to win regardless of the measures it takes to win short of total destruction of your planet. You stop the war when every single enemy is dead or captured and awaiting execution. No prisoners just dead men walking you think a single damn one of them would show any of us the same kindness if the position of power was reversed?

Jason Alsbrook
Member

As if we could trust them anyway. Radical Islamic cockroaches

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