US President Donald Trump said on Monday that talks with Afghanistan’s Taliban leaders aimed at ending the 18-year war in Afghanistan are “dead”.
Trump said, “As far as I’m concerned, they’re dead,” while leaving the White House for North Carolina.
Over the weekend, Trump cancelled secret plans to host a Taliban delegation in the US after the militant group admitted killing a US soldier.
The two sides had appeared close to a deal and the Taliban said the US would “lose the most” for cancelling talks.
The US President has made withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan a key foreign policy aim, but asked about the 14,000 US troops still there he said, “We’d like to get out but we’ll get out at the right time”.
On Sunday, Trump tweeted, “I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations”.
Last month, the US and Taliban resumed peace talks in Doha, Qatar which aimed at chalking out a deal on the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan in exchange for a Taliban commitment on security and negotiations with the government in Kabul.
However, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad who leads the US in the talks with the Taliban in Doha said that no one should be “intimidated or fooled by propaganda” regarding the US’s support to the Afghan security forces.
The Taliban had never agreed to end their violent campaign against Afghan and foreign forces while negotiations were taking place. Sixteen US troops have been killed this year.
In 2001, US-led forces overthrew the Taliban government in Afghanistan because the militants had given safe haven to the Al-Qaeda network to plan the attacks on the US on September 11.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement the talks were going well until Saturday.
The proposed meeting in the US came after nine rounds of talks between the US and Taliban representatives, held in Doha, the capital of the Gulf state of Qatar.