On the eve of the 18-year anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks and the illegal U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the United States and the Taliban completed nine rounds of peace talks with no deal.
Although they had reportedly reached an agreement in principle, Donald Trump insisted on a secret meeting at Camp David with the Taliban and the puppet Afghan government so he could take credit as dealmaker-in-chief. The idea of finalizing the negotiations at Camp David was “a prospect that appealed to the president’s penchant for dramatic spectacle,” The New York Times reported.
Trump, however, abruptly canceled the meeting, slated to occur last weekend, citing a Taliban car bombing that killed an American.
There are “questions about the accuracy of [Trump’s] assertion that the Taliban had accepted his invitation to Camp David on Sunday, and that he was the one calling off the meeting,” according to The New York Times.
“Taliban negotiators said Sunday that they had agreed to come to the United States only after a deal was announced and only to meet with the American side, suggesting that Mr. Trump may have canceled a meeting that the key participants were not planning to attend.”
Trump’s excuse for calling off the Camp David meeting is also belied by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s claim that the United States was responsible for “over a thousand Taliban killed in just the last 10 days alone.”
Two days after cancelling the meeting, Trump told reporters the peace talks with the Taliban are “dead as far as I’m concerned.”
The Tentative Peace Deal Would Leave Thousands of U.S. Troops in Afghanistan
There are currently 14,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Under the Trump administration’s tentative agreement with the Taliban, the U.S. would pull 5,400 troops out of Afghanistan within 135 days of signing, reducing the number to 8,600. This would still leave more U.S. troops in Afghanistan than the 8,400 who were there when Barack Obama left office. The remaining troops would be withdrawn gradually over a 16-month period.
In return, the Taliban would agree to not support international terrorist groups and would prevent terrorists from using Afghanistan to mount attacks.