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Sunday 26 January 2020

Taliban ‘can’t believe’ Trump has called off talks

Despite the Taliban's disinclination to hold direct talks with the Afghan govet, the US has been negotiating with the Taliban at Doha

Doha: US President Donald Trump’s decision to scrap peace talks with the Taliban was termed as ‘unbelievable’ by the group. The Taliban asserted that Trump’s ‘disappointing’ tweets ‘damaged his credibility‘.

“A few days ago, we finalised an agreement with the US, the text of which was sent to the leaders of both delegations and provided to Qatar. Everyone was satisfied. It was agreed that Qatar would announce the deal. However, the disappointing tweets by President Trump are unbelievable and damaged his credibility,” tweeted Suhail Shaheen, the spokesperson for the Taliban’s political office in Doha, Qatar.

Trump, in the aftermath of the Kabul terror attack, which claimed an American soldier’s life out of 12 lives, announced on Saturday that he was scrapping off peace negotiations with the Taliban. He cancelled a “secret meeting” with the representatives of the Taliban at Camp David.

The Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday, despite the president’s decision, said that the US is still working towards a negotiation but it will not advance until the commitments of the Taliban are delivered.

Despite the Taliban’s disinclination to hold direct talks with the Afghan government, the US, in the last few months, has been negotiating with the Taliban at Doha. The group views the government of Afghanistan as a puppet of the US.

Earlier this week, Zalmay Khalilzad, US special representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation said that the American administration had agreed to withdraw over 5,000 troops from Afghanistan in requital of assurance by the Taliban.

Trump cites Taliban attack in Kabul as reason

President Trump said on Twitter that no one knew that confidential talks were to be held on Sunday in Camp David separately with Taliban representatives and the President of Afghanistan. They were coming to America that night. “Unbeknownst to almost everyone, the major Taliban leaders and, separately, the President of Afghanistan, were going to secretly meet with me at Camp David on Sunday. They were coming to the United States tonight,” he tweeted.

“Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, they admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great soldiers, and 11 other people. I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations. What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position?” the president wondered.

“They didn’t,” the president continued, adding that the Taliban “only made it worse! 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. How many more decades are they willing to fight?”

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