There is a growing risk that the United States and the Taliban may break their peace talks to end the U.S. War in Afghanistan that has lasted 18 years - the longest time in U.S. history. U.S. President Donald Trump made a surprise declaration to halt negotiations citing that a suicide bombing attack occurred on Thursday in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, to claim 12 lives of victims including a U.S. soldier.
President Trump twittered on Saturday, “…the major Taliban leaders and, separately, the President of Afghanistan, were going to secretly meet with me at Camp David on Sunday…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.” As he stated, a meeting had been about to be held on Sunday at Camp David, which the president has cancelled. He went on to say on a critical note, “What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position? They didn’t, they only made it worse!”
The New York Times reported that many are busy speculating on the background of President Trump’s decision to call off meetings at every level on account of the terrorist victims. Some surmise that Trump’s reasoning may be an excuse to halt negotiations given that the Taliban has continued with bombing attacks and not any agreement has been signed off with the United States to promise not to attack U.S. citizens. President Trump has so far suggested shrinking U.S. overseas forces for budget reasons.
The withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan is an extension of the U.S. president’s argument as well. Nevertheless, even his closest friends and staffers including U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security adviser John Bolton and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham have opposed his idea, maintaining that it is early to bring the troops back home and sign a peace agreement with the Taliban.
Nine former Afghan ambassadors to the United States have even issued a statement that their country will possibly collapse due to an overall civil war if the U.S. forces leave the region. In the meantime, as the Taliban’s continuous terrorist acts have only increased concerns, it is said that President Trump has inevitably accepted it.
As the United States openly declared an end to negotiations with the Taliban, confusion will only grow across Afghanistan. It is even uncertain whether the Afghan presidential election will go smoothly as scheduled on Sept. 28.
The New York Times commented that if a U.S. meeting with Taliban leaders had taken place as planned, it would have been an event as historical as the president’s meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held late June at Panmunjom. Over the long period of time, the Taliban helped protect Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaida that is held accountable for the 9/11 attacks in 2001. It is considered an unprecedented plan to invite over the terrorist group, who provided protection for the U.S.’s biggest enemy, to Camp David, the country retreat for the president of two days before the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
Se-Hyung Lee firstname.lastname@example.org