Taliban threaten US with more deaths after talks stall

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published 09.09.2019 00:23

The Taliban said Sunday that U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to cancel peace talks with its leadership would lead to the further loss of American lives and assets. "The Americans will suffer more than anyone else for cancelling the talks," Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the hard-line insurgent group, said in a statement. He said the talks were being conducted in a smooth manner until Saturday, and both sides had agreed to hold talks between Afghan factions on Sept. 23.

U.S. President Donald Trump said he canceled a secret weekend meeting at Camp David with Taliban and Afghanistan leaders after a bombing in the past week in Kabul that killed 12 people, including an American soldier, and has called off peace negotiations with the insurgent group. The Taliban have kept up a steady tempo of attacks despite holding several rounds of peace talks with the U.S. in recent months.

Trump's tweet Saturday evening was surprising because it would mean that the president was ready to host members of the Taliban at the presidential retreat in Maryland just days before the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. More than 2,400 U.S. troops have been killed since the U.S. invaded Afghanistan to go after the Taliban, who were harboring a number of al-Qaida leaders responsible for 9/11. Under the expected deal on a staggered withdrawal of U.S. troops, the Taliban would guarantee Afghanistan would not be a sanctuary for militants to expand and plot new attacks, both sides have said. The Afghan government has not been involved in the negotiations as the Taliban refuse to talk to an administration they see as a "U.S. puppet."

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