Trump administration defends decision to call off Taliban peace talks

World Today

A man enters the press area of the White House at dusk, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Washington. On Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, President Donald Trump tweeted he has called off a secret Camp David meeting with Taliban and Afghanistan leaders. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The U.S. decision to suspend peace talks with the Taliban has many fearing that Afghanistan could see a spike in attacks by the militants as they try to force the U.S. back to the negotiating table.

CGTN’s Toby Muse reports.

The White House spent Sunday explaining U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to suspend negotiations with Taliban insurgents, emphasizing that recent Taliban attacks made further talks impossible – for the time being.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said any future talks with the Taliban would need to include commitments that the Taliban would expel foreign militant groups like al Queda and that an orderly timeline be honored to allow U.S. troops to leave.

The U.S. and the Taliban had been talking for a year in Qatar, with a deal thought to be close. Details of what had been agreed to are sketchy, but it’s understood the U.S. would remove about 5400 troops from Afghanistan within 135 days after signing a final deal. The U.S. has around 14,000 troops in the country.

The reaction to the end of the talks in Kabul was mixed. The government there criticized its exclusion from the negotiations.

The Taliban has refused to talk to the government in Kabul, calling it a puppet of the U.S. A spokesman for the Taliban said in a statement: “The Americans will suffer more than anyone else for cancelling the talks.”

Still, there is fear that the end of these talks could see the Taliban launch a new offensive.