Trump: Secret Taliban Meeting at Camp David Is Off

President tweets that he canceled peace talks after attack that killed US soldier
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 8, 2019 5:33 AM CDT

(Newser) – President Trump said he canceled a secret weekend meeting at Camp David with Taliban and Afghanistan leaders after a bombing in Kabul killed 12 people, including an American soldier, and has called off peace negotiations with the insurgent group. "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," Trump tweeted. "They were coming to the United States tonight. Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, they admitted to 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," he wrote. Trump's tweet Saturday evening was surprising, reports the AP, because it would mean he was ready to host members of the Taliban at the presidential retreat just days before the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

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Canceling the talks also goes against Trump's pledge to withdraw the remaining 14,000 or so US troops from Afghanistan and end US involvement in a conflict that is closing in on 18 years. Zalmay Khalilzad, the Trump administration's diplomat talking to the Taliban leaders for months, has said recently that he was on the "threshold" of an agreement. The president, however, has been under pressure from the Afghan government and some US lawmakers, including supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, who mistrust the Taliban and think it's too early to withdraw American forces. "What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position? They didn't, they only made it worse!" Trump tweeted. It remains unclear if the US-Taliban talks are over or only paused. Trump said he called off the peace negotiations after the bombing, but Khalilzad was meeting with Taliban leaders in Qatar on Thursday and Friday.

(Read more President Trump stories.)

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