The Taliban released a statement over the weekend that threatened American lives after President Donald Trump canceled a secret Camp David meeting with the terrorist group, Reuters reported.
“This will lead to more losses to the U.S.,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Sunday. “Its credibility will be affected, its anti-peace stance will be exposed to the world, losses to lives and assets will increase.”
Trump canceled the planned peace talks after the Taliban claimed responsibility for a recent attack in Afghanistan that killed a U.S. serviceman and 11 others near the U.S. embassy in Kabul.
The talks were aimed at ending fighting that has lasted 18 years, since the U.S. was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001 by terrorists with links to the Taliban and al-Qaida. Trump wants to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan and end the long war, but the latest aggression has interfered with those plans.
Peace talks DOA
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the U.S. would continue to put military pressure on the Taliban, but told Fox News Sunday that peace talks were dead “for the time being.”
Meanwhile, planned withdrawals were still up in the air and would be discussed with Trump soon, he said.
“President Trump made clear we’re not just going to withdraw because there’s a timeline,” the secretary of State told CNN on Sunday. “We’re only going to reduce our forces when certain conditions are met.”
Ahead of their planned meeting, the U.S. and the Taliban had a draft deal in place to end fighting, but there was serious concern over whether the Taliban would stop its attacks when the U.S. pulled its troops out of the country. And the latest act of aggression from the group hasn’t helped matters.
The Taliban currently controls more land in Afghanistan than it has since 2001. U.S. raids on the group’s territory and members have killed more than 1,000 Taliban fighters in the last 10 days, but some American officials say U.S. troops need to stick around a little longer.
On Tuesday, nine U.S. ambassadors said in a statement that they feared a “total civil war” in Afghanistan if the U.S. pulls its troops from the region before a peace deal is signed.
But a peace deal is exactly what President Trump hopes to accomplish. Pompeo told Fox on Sunday that it was Trump who “ultimately made the decision” to meet with Taliban leaders at Camp David.
“He said, ‘I want to talk to [Afghan President] Ashraf Ghani. I want to talk to these Taliban negotiators. I want to look them in the eye. I want to see if we can get to the final outcome we needed,’” Pompeo said of Trump.
But while Trump has a way of making deals with foreign nations, those deals can only work if both sides are negotiating in good faith and intend to stick to their commitments. And when it comes to the Taliban, that is looking less likely by the minute.