September 9, 2019 The Taliban warned that more Americans will die after U.S. President Donald Trump canceled a secret meeting with leaders of the insurgent group and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at Camp David over the weekend.
A Taliban spokesperson told a BBC correspondent Trump’s dramatic cancellation was a surprise to the group, suggesting his erratic diplomacy is damaging his credibility.
On Saturday, Trump tweeted:
“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. They were coming to the United States tonight.”
After Thursday’s bombing near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul that killed a U.S. service member, President Trump said he immediately canceled the meeting and called off peace negotiations.
“What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position,?” Trump asked.
Trump faced backlash from leaders on both sides of the aisle after announcing the plan to meet with Taliban members at Camp David —just days before the eighteenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on American soil.
The New York Times reported on Sunday the suggestion of a visit to Camp David came at the end of a potential peace agreement negotiated by the U.S. special representative to Afghanistan last week. The deal started to unravel days earlier after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani postponed his trip to Washington and the Taliban refused to travel to the U.S. before a deal was actually signed, according to a former senior Afghan official.
Taliban—U.S. Peace Talks
On January 28, 2019, the U.S. government and Taliban agreed to a framework for a peace agreement to end the war in Afghanistan.
The Taliban – U.S. peace talks are not only considered crucial to striking an agreement to end the war in Afghanistan, but an agreement will hopefully provide guarantees the country will not again harbor terrorists to carry out attacks worldwide.
History of the Taliban
The Taliban is a Sunni Islamist militant organization founded in 1994 by Mullah Mohammed Omar to establish a strictly Shariah-governed Afghan state. The Taliban achieved this goal in 1996 and ruled Afghanistan as the main governmental body through 2001.
[The original fighters were the mujahedeen, forces covertly supported by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency that fought the Soviet Union in Afghanistan from 1969 to 1989.]
Since being driven from the government in 2001, the Taliban has claimed responsibility for deadly bombings and other terror attacks across Afghanistan targeting foreign embassies and NATO’s headquarters, as well as Afghan security forces. Taliban fighters have also coordinated with the Haqqani network and al-Qaeda.
Despite the group’s violent attacks in Afghanistan, the U.S. government has not designated the Taliban a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).
The Trump Administration prefers to label the Taliban an insurgence group rather than a terrorist troop. After U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the group a terrorist group on Sunday, requests by reporters to the Trump administration to clarify if the remark was a slip or if something had changed went unanswered.
A 2017 U.S. Department of State report includes a reference to “terrorist groups, including al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Hamas, and ISIS’s various branches.”