|"Talks with Afghanistan’s Taliban leaders dead", Trump said Monday.
The US and Taliban have conducted 9 rounds of peace negotiations over the past year. A draft accord agreed last week would have seen about 5,000 American troops withdraw in the coming months and 5 military bases close within 135 days in exchange for guarantees that Afghanistan would not be used by international terrorist groups, such as Al-Qaeda or ISIS, to launch militant attacks on the United States or its allies.
Trump canceled the talks after the Taliban attacked a NATO control station and the US Embassy in Afghanistan, killing 12 people, including an American soldier, last Thursday.
The Taliban has conducted regular military attacks in Afghanistan, but never before harmed American troops. Trump said if they cannot honor a ceasefire during these very important peace talks, and would even kill 12 innocent people, then they probably don't have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway.
Analysts say the deep cause was that Trump’s secret talks were criticized by many American politicians. They would have taken place at a sensitive time before the 18th anniversary of the 911 attack, when the Taliban-backed Al-Qaeda attacked the US and killed thousands of people. If the Camp David talks were held, it would give the Taliban political advantage and become a communication victory for the Taliban. Laurel Miller, a American diplomat on Afghanistan and Pakistan in the 2013-2017 period, said Trump didn’t change his strategy on Afghanistan and the Taliban because of one particular attack. The cancellation may have come from internal affairs.
In response to the US’s pledge to maintain military pressure on the Taliban, the Taliban has warned of more American deaths. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid criticized Trump for abandoning the planned talks, saying it will lead to more American losses of lives and property. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has called on the Taliban to end all violence and engage in direct talks with the government.