Donald Trump declared "dead" negotiations between the US and the Taliban after he canceled a meeting in Camp David over the weekend, leading to fears of increased violence in the Afeganistão on the eve of the presidential election scheduled for later this month.
Trump announced on Sunday that he had canceled Camp David's secret meetings with the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani and Taliban leaders following a car bomb attack in Kabul on Thursday. And he said negotiations with the Taliban, which appeared to be close to a deal, were coming to an end.
"They are dead, as far as I am concerned," Trump told reporters on the south lawn of the White House. “They thought killing people to put themselves in a slightly better bargaining position when they killed 12 people… And you can't do that, you can't do this to me. So they are dead, as far as I am concerned. And we hit the Taliban harder in the last four days than in ten years. "
Trump's announcement tweeted on Saturday was shocking in Washington and Kabul, where there was disbelief that the president had invited the Taliban to an iconic presidential venue the same week as the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
There was also skepticism that Thursday's bombing in Kabul was the real reason the talks were canceled.
The Taliban issued a statement saying that an agreement was "finalized" and that the negotiations ended in "a good atmosphere", but the agreement was sabotaged by Trump.
"The reaction to just one attack, just before the agreement was signed, shows no patience or experience," the statement said.
The Taliban would continue their "jihad" against foreign "occupation," the statement said. “Now, US President Donald Trump's announcement that the negotiations with the Islamic Emirate [the Taliban] will end will hurt America more than anyone else; will damage your credibility and expose your anti-peace stance to the world; This [would result in] an increase in financial damage and casualties on their forces. "
The Taliban are expected to intensify attacks on preparations for the September 28 presidential election.
President Ghani opposed the US-Taliban deal negotiated in Qatar by US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad because the Afghan government had been excluded from the talks, and the agreement gave no guarantee about holding this month's election or the survival of it. Kabul government. Nor did it commit the Taliban to speak directly to Ghani or his ministers.
By most accounts, the deal was extremely limited, exchanging the offer to withdraw US troops by a Taliban company that attacks on the US would not be launched from Afghanistan.
"To satisfy his own ego and narrow political interests, Trump was willing to host the Taliban at Camp David and force the Afghan government to agree to an agreement that would benefit only the Taliban," said Vali Nasr, former US special adviser. in Afghanistan. and Pakistan, said on Twitter. "And he didn't even make it."
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Khalilzad had been removed from Qatar and that it was up to the Taliban when negotiations resumed.
"The president eventually concluded that today's meetings would not produce the result he demands we receive for the American people," Pompeo told CBS News on Sunday. "And when he saw that, when he saw that they could not fulfill the reduction in the commitments of violence they had made, he said it made no sense to have this meeting."
According to Time, Pompeo refused to sign the "agreement in principle." Khalilzad said he arrived in Doha after nearly a year of talks because of his doubts about the deal and because the Taliban wanted to sign the deal as the "Taliban Islamic Emirate", a recognition that the secretary of state was not ready to grant. .
It was also reported that US National Security Adviser John Bolton and Vice President Mike Pence opposed meeting Taliban representatives at Camp David, a few days before the 18 anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Trump declared such reports as "Fake News," but did not directly contradict them, saying only, "I always think it's nice to know and talk, but in this case I decided not to."
Former Afghan officials and experts doubted Thursday's attack on Kabul - in which 10 civilians, a US soldier and a Romanian soldier - was the real reason for the cancellation. They stressed that the Taliban had maintained attacks during a year of negotiations and that the US also fought and negotiated at the same time.
Experts were also skeptical that Taliban leaders intended to fly to Camp David on Sunday.
According to a source familiar with the negotiations: “Both sides had initialed the deal, but… Trump wanted to organize something at Camp David. He wanted to be the guy who made the deal. He wanted a TV show.
According to this account, the Taliban were concerned about how they would be treated when they arrived in the US. Therefore, in anticipation of reports that Trump had been rejected, the president sought to "control the narrative" by tweeting that he had canceled a Camp David meeting that would never occur.
"What appears to be the failure of these particular negotiations ends the war for now, less likely," wrote Kate Clark of the Afghanistan Analyst Network.