(ISLAMABAD) — A Taliban official says the insurgent group’s negotiating team has arrived in the Russian capital just days after U.S. President Donald Trump declared a deal that had been nearly a year in the making was dead.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not say with whom the Taliban would be meeting in Moscow on Friday.
KABUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel Afghan peace talks will cost more American lives, the Taliban said on Sunday while the United States promised to keep up military pressure on the militants, in a stunning reversal of efforts to forge a deal ending nearly 20 years of war in Afghanistan.
Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, criticized Trump for calling off the dialogue and said U.S. forces have been pounding Afghanistan with attacks at the same time.
“This will lead to more losses to the U.S.,” he said in a statement. “Its credibility will be affected, its anti-peace stance will be exposed to the world, losses to lives and assets will increase.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is on the big five Sunday shows this morning, and naturally the subject of President Donald Trump cancelling talks with Taliban leaders at Camp David came up.
Tapper specifically questioned Pompeo on how he feels about this, remarking, “I can’t help but think that if a Democratic president had talked about having the Taliban come to Camp David to negotiate a peace process that was not already a done deal, that you as a congressman, as a soldier, as a veteran, as a West Point graduate, that you would be rather upset.”
Pompeo insisted to Tapper he’s wrong and that he’s been “fully supportive of this effort.”
….an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great 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? They didn’t, they….— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 7, 2019
….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?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 7, 2019
“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,” Trump revealed.
“Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, they admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great great (sic) soldiers, and 11 other people. I immediately cancelled (sic) the meeting and called off peace negotiations,” he continued.“What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position?” he asked. “They didn’t, they only made it worse!”
“How many more decades are they willing to fight?” he asked, ominously.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., warned in an interview with Fox News Saturday that withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan would lead to “another 9/11,” saying that America can’t “outsource” U.S. national security to the Taliban.
“If we left tomorrow, the Taliban cannot be trusted to take care of ISIS and Al Qaeda,” Graham told chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge. “They don’t have the capability. So when you ask our intelligence community…what would happen to America if we withdrew all of our forces. They tell us without any hesitation it would lead to another 9/11 in a matter of time.”