US strongly responds over Afghan Taliban warning, things go worse for Afghanistan
NEW YORK - The United States has withdrawn its special envoy to peace talks in Afghanistan after President Donald Trump canceled plans for negotiations with the Taliban and Afghan government at the presidential compound at Camp David in Virginia on Sunday, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
At the same time, Pompeo warned that things “are about to get worse” for the Taliban in the wake of an attack that killed a U.S. soldier in Kabul last week.
In interviews from Washington to five major US television channels on Sunday, Pompeo argued that Trump was willing to take a political risk to strike a deal on reducing the American troop presence in Afghanistan. But he conceded that the talks are dead “for the time being” and said the United States has recalled Zalmay Khalilzad, the chief U.S. negotiator in the process.
“They tried to use terror to improve their negotiating position,” he said. “The Taliban overreached.”
Pompeo said that talks are “absolutely” off between the parties “for the time being” after Trump called off a planned secret summit on Saturday.
In a series of tweets, the president specifically blamed the decision to scrap a planned meeting at Camp David on a recent car bomb attack in Afghanistan, which the Taliban took credit for and killed a U.S. service member.
“We had been working on this meeting for a little while,” Pompeo said. But the attack, “was something President Trump could never stand for and we informed both President [Ashraf] Ghani and our Taliban interlocutors that these meetings were not going to take place,” he said.
Pompeo said that American forces have killed over 1,000 Taliban in the last ten days and that “while this is not a war of attrition, I want the American people to know that President Trump is taking it to the Taliban.”
And he warned that the recent attack and the lack of negotiations would prove damaging to the Taliban.