Afghans braced for a possible new wave of Taliban violence Monday after President Donald Trump abruptly broke off almost a year of talks with the insurgent group just when a deal to end America's longest war seemed to be at hand. The US president said he canceled the meeting after the Taliban claimed responsibility for attacks in Kabul which killed 12 people, including one US soldier, earlier in the week.
Two days prior, he abruptly announced he was cancelling secret meetings at Camp David with the Taliban and the Afghan president, ending months of U.S. negotiations with Taliban leaders - who control large parts of the country.
"As far as I am concerned, they are dead", Trump told reporters at the White House.
However, the prospect of peace in Afghanistan collapsed on Saturday, when Trump said he had called off a secret meeting with Taliban leaders in Camp David, outside Washington to discuss the deal. "He can't do that to me".
"You can't do that can't do that with me", he added, saying that "we've hit the Taliban harder in the last four days that they've been hit in over 10 years".
Mr Trump said his administration is "looking at" whether to proceed with troop reductions that had been one element of the preliminary deal with the Taliban struck by presidential envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. We wanted to leave (from Afghanistan) but we will leave in due time. Meanwhile the Taliban refused to meet with the Afghan government at Camp David on the grounds that doing so would have been political suicide, since they view the administration of Ashraf Ghani as a "stooge government".
The Afghan government remains mostly on the sidelines of the USA peace effort. What did he think the Taliban is, an agrarian reform group?
Meanwhile, Trump defended his decision to offer up the historic Camp David compound to a militant group that harbored September 11 mastermind Osama bin Laden and is still killing Americans, so close to the 18th anniversary of the 2001 attacks.
Most of the focus is now on Trump scuttling a previously secret Camp David meeting with representatives of the Taliban and the Afghan government.
"We would like to get out, but we will get out at the right time".
Pompeo added on CBS' "State of the Union", "President Trump made clear we're not just going to withdraw because there's a timeline".
The Taliban "are the people who are partially responsible for our loved ones dying and other Americans dying", Riches said, but "I'd like to see it end". On Sunday Pompeo suggested on "Meet the Press" that there would be no USA withdrawal unless the violence in Afghanistan was reduced and the US could be assured that the country wouldn't again serve as the staging ground for a terrorist attack on the U.S.
Pompeo told news outlets that it was ultimately Trump's decision to both arrange the meeting and call it off. "So we will not be surprised if we see more attacks, but they have already done it".
This resulted in a deal that would have established a 16-month timeline for the gradual withdrawal of America's 14,000 remaining troops in the country and required the Taliban to provide counterterrorism assurances that would presumably protect Americans on United States soil.
He went on: "If you're the Taliban, conditions have been worsening, and they're about to get worse".