After aborting a secret meeting with the Taliban at Camp David this weekend, President Trump declared that Afghanistan peace talks are officially dead.
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“They are dead, they are dead,” Trump informed reporters on the White House south yard. “As far as I’m worried, they are dead.”
On Saturday night, the president revealed that he cancelled a conference with Taliban leaders, and separately, the president of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani, after the Taliban took credit for a cars and truck battle that eliminated a United States service member and eleven others. For months, the United States has actually been working out a peace deal that would possibly bring an end to the 18- year war in Afghanistan, the longest war in American history.
As the peace offer was reaching the last stretch of negotiations, the president, who sees himself as a skillful deal-maker, wished to contribute in the talks himself.
“They believed they had to kill individuals in order to put themselves in a little better negotiating position,” Trump said. “When I heard, extremely simply, that they eliminated one of our soldiers and 12 other innocent individuals, I said ‘There is no chance I’m fulfilling on that basis. There is no way I’m meeting.’ They did an error. And by the method they are informing individuals they made a huge mistake. They are saying it loud and clear that they made a big mistake.”
Unbeknownst to practically everybody, the major Taliban leaders and, individually, the President of Afghanistan, were going to secretly consult with me at Camp David on Sunday. They were pertaining to the United States tonight. Sadly, in order to construct incorrect leverage, they confessed to.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 7, 2019
In spite of stating talks with the Taliban are now off the table, the president said conversations are ongoing with the Afghan federal government. The Afghan federal government stated that they welcomed the president’s choice to cancel a conference with the Taliban, but stated they fear it could lead to more violence.
“Sadly, the war will magnify too, but at the rate the Taliban have been dying they can not last long,” the Afghans said in a statement.
It’s been uncertain where the choice to squelch peace talks leaves his longstanding campaign guarantee to draw down troops. A White Home authorities stated the president, who has said he plans to decrease the variety of soldiers in Afghanistan down to 8,600, is considering a possible withdrawal strategy that does not include a peace handle the Taliban.
“We are looking at that, and we are thinking of that,” Trump said of pulling soldiers out of Afghanistan. “We wish to get out, however we will get out at the correct time.”
The president’s invite to host the Taliban at Camp David, the storied presidential retreat in rural Maryland, was consulted with criticism by Republicans, Democrats, and supposedly, even some of his own senior advisors. The president chose to host the conference at Camp David after a session a week earlier at the White Home with nationwide security advisors, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and nationwide security advisor John Bolton, according to an administration authorities.
But Trump denied that he declined recommendations from Vice President Mike Pence and nationwide security consultant John Bolton to not hold the conferences. Rather, Trump took credit for the idea to host the militant group at Camp David and noted it was better to satisfy there than the White Home.
“No in fact, in terms of consultants I took my own suggestions,” Trump stated. “I liked the concept of conference. I have actually fulfilled with a great deal of bad individuals and a lot of good individuals during the course of the last practically 3 years.”
“There have actually been lots of so-called bad individuals raised to Camp David for conferences. And the option was the White Home and you would not have actually been delighted with that either,” Trump stated.
A spokesperson for the vice president did not reject that he encouraged the president to not meet the Taliban at Camp David, and stated in a statement Pence “reserves his counsel for the President, and anybody declaring to know his thoughts on the matter aside from the President is mistaken.”
The vice president tweeted, “That’s Definitely Right Mr. President. More Phony News! The Dishonest Media never contacted our office before keeping up this story and if they had, we would have told them I FULLY support your choice.”
That’s Definitely Right Mr. President. More Fake News! The Dishonest Media never ever called our workplace before keeping up this story and if they had, we would have told them I COMPLETELY support your decision. https://t.co/zjzro1fzSg
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) September 9, 2019
Some Republicans breathed a sigh of relief that the talks were aborted.
“I think it’s quite clear the Taliban is not a reliable negotiating party. It would not have been my option to have them come to Camp David, especially now. Hopefully we’ll discover a way forward,” Sen. Mitt Romney said.
“Now, I do not know the details of the conference with the Taliban, who started it, who was invited, however I do understand this: we should not be working out with a group that’s eliminating young Americans at the very same time,” stated Sen. Joe Kennedy of Louisiana.
ABC News’ Conor Finnegan, Jordyn Phelps, and Sarah Kolinovsky contributed to this report.