KABUL: The Taliban has condemned US President Donald Trump’s decision to suspend the ongoing talks with the group to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan as an “anti-peace” move.
“Now that US President Trump has announced the suspension of negotiations… this would not harm anyone else but the Americans themselves,” the group said in a statement.
In a series of tweets on Saturday, Trump said he was calling off secret meetings scheduled for Sunday with Taliban representatives and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at Camp David in Maryland, US.
Citing a Taliban attack in Kabul last week in which 12 people, including a US soldier, were killed as the reason, Trump also canceled the US-Taliban negotiations ongoing in Qatar for nearly a year.
The Taliban said the cancellation of talks would “lead to more losses for the US”, “harm [its] credibility” and “show their anti-peace stance in [a] more clear way”.
“Our struggle for the past 18 years … will continue until the foreign occupation is finished and the Afghans are given a chance to live by their own choice,” said the statement.
The Taliban said the US negotiating team was “happy with the progress made so far” in Doha and the talks were held “in a good atmosphere”.
“We had fruitful discussions with the US negotiating team and the agreement was finalized,” said the statement.
“The American delegation was happy from the outcome of the talks until yesterday [Saturday]. Both sides were preparing for the announcement and the signing of the agreement.”
The Taliban said it had even set September 23 as the inaugural day of another round of inter-Afghan dialogue in the hope that a deal with the US would be reached before that date.
Following Trump’s announcement, the Afghan president’s office said that “real peace” would only be possible if the Taliban stopped launching attacks and held direct talks with the government.
The Taliban has long refused to engage with the Afghan government, calling it a “puppet regime” of the
The US has also recalled its special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, to Washington to determine the path forward, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a US network on Sunday.
Asked on the network whether the Afghan talks were dead, Pompeo said, “For the time being they are.”
Last week, US and Taliban negotiators struck a draft deal that could have led to a withdrawal of troops from America’s longest war.
There are currently 14,000 US forces as well as thousands of other NATO troops in Afghanistan, 18 years after its invasion by a US-led coalition following the September 11, 2001 attacks.