Trump says Taliban peace talks are 'dead' and America is clobbering Afghanistan's insurgents like never before after he canceled secret summit ......
Sept. 09, 2019
Donald Trump said Monday at the White House that planned talks between the U.S. and Afghanistan 's Taliban leaders are now completely off the table.
'They're dead. They're dead. As far as I'm concerned, they're dead,' Trump told reporters as he left for a campaign rally in North Carolina.
Trump said he had called off a Camp David peace summit because of a Taliban suicide bombing attack in Kabul that killed 12 people including an American soldier.
'They did something that they sure as hell shouldn't have done,' he said.
The president also said he wanted to draw down U.S. troops in Afghanistan to 'a very specific number,' but he wouldn't share what it is – saying only that the U.S. will 'get out at the right time.'
As the president dismissed the idea of rescheduling his Taliban talks, he claimed the guerrilla government already regrets Thursday's deadly bombing.
'The only reason I canceled that meeting was that they killed one of our soldiers,' he said Monday, and 'they're very upset. They feel like they blew it. They said it loud and clear.'
Trump said he has ordered aggressive attacks in retaliation. 'We hit the Taliban, and our enemy in Afghanistan, harder than we've hit them in over ten years,' he said.
More than 1,000 Taliban fighters have been killed in Afghanistan in the last 10 days, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The insurgents are now promising more bloodshed, promising to keep fighting in Afghanistan 'for 100 years' and to 'continue our jihad. They will have to pay a price.'
Afghans are now bracing for a possible new wave of Taliban violence as the insurgents vow to battle against the so-called 'foreign occupation' and warned that 'more Americans will die.'
American envoy Zalmay Khalilzad had been in negotiations for nearly a year with the Taliban's political wing in Qatar.
The Trump administration has so far left 14,000 troops in Afghanistan but the president indicated in August that he intends to reduce that number to 8,600.
Pompeo has confirmed that the State Department has recalled Khalilzad.
The Taliban so far has refused to talk with the U.S.-recognized Afghan government, calling it a puppet regime.
Trump announced Saturday on Twitter that he had secretly invited Taliban leaders and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani for talks at Camp David.
He said in the same series of tweets that he had called it off, claiming that '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.'
The Times in London spoke to a Taliban source who claimed that they 'were invited to Camp David but refused to go.
'The U.S. wanted us to announce a nationwide ceasefire, but again we refused. It is not possible for us.'
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