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2019-09-09 11:08:131 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
Perhaps Donald Trump finally gets it. When he wanted to forge a deal with the Taliban and pull troops out of Afghanistan, there were many who just didn't understand, urging him to see that the U.S. presence was still needed there.
Saturday he finally saw what and who he was really dealing with when he abruptly canceled a secret meeting with the Taliban on U.S. soil, at Camp David nonetheless. Many were befuddled as to why he would even consider such a thing, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended him on multiple Sunday morning news shows.
"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," Trump announced in a Saturday tweet.
"They were coming to the United States tonight. Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, they admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great soldiers and 11 other people," he continued.
Trump seemed to finally realize the depth of the people he was dealing with. These, after all, are people who supported al Qaeda to plan the multi-stage attacks on the United States on September 11, 2011, the events that set the stage for the U.S. presence in Afghanistan.
"I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations," he explained. "What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position? They didn't, they only made it worse!"
Trump first played it tough, writing "If they cannot agree to 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," but ended sounding very, very rejected.
He went back to being tough again by asking, "How many more decades are they willing to fight?"
With the plan being to meet the Taliban leadership and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at Camp David, it had many people saying, "Huh?" The anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is on Wednesday, which left this plan of Trump's even more questionable.
"Camp David is where America's leaders met to plan our response after al Qaeda, supported by the Taliban, killed 3000 Americans on 9/11," tweeted Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), the No. 3 Republican in the House. She's also the daughter of Dick Cheney, who was vice president at the time of the 9/11 attacks.
2020 presidential candidate, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), also had a few things to say about Trump's plan for secret Taliban meetings at Camp David. She saw it as "another example of the president conducting foreign policy like a game show."
"The whole thing doesn't quite make sense, and it's just like another example of the president treating foreign policy like it's some kind of game show. This isn't a game show; these are terrorists," she told Jake Tapper on "State of the Union."
"And yes, you want to try to end the bloodshed and talk to them and see if an agreement can be met, and you want to do it without allies, and you want to keep those hard-fought Democratic reforms in place, but the way he conducts foreign policy reminds me exactly of North Korea. He loves the showmanship."
She added that Trump "wants to have that moment, but then all the details aren't done, and then we end up in a worse place on the world stage than we were before."
Chief U.S. negotiator for this situation, Zalmay Khalilzad, has been traveling between Afghanistan and Qatar, meeting with Taliban leaders and Afghan officials, working on this deal for quite some time.
Just last week he announced that they'd reached a deal "in principle" for the U.S. to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan in exchange for the Taliban renouncing al Qaeda.
He traveled to Qatar last week for meetings with Taliban officials after officials in the U.S. said negotiations had ended.
Pompeo appeared on the news shows on Sunday morning defending the plan for meetings at Camp David, noting the president was willing to take the political risk to make the deal. But the talks are now dead after the admission of the attack in Kabul.
"If you're going to negotiate peace, you often have to deal with some pretty bad actors," the secretary of state said on ABC News's "This Week."
"I know the history, too, at Camp David, and indeed President Trump reflected on that," he added. "Some pretty bad actors have traveled through that place throughout recorded history."
Pompeo also said that "enormous progress" had been made in the negotiations over the last month. "We finally reached a point where we were close. We've made real progress."
"And then the Taliban failed to live up to a series of commitments that they had made. And when that happened, President Trump said, 'I'm not going to take that deal.' " He also explained that the U.S. will continue to "protect our nation from a terror attack ever emanating from that place again."
After Trump canceled the talks, the Taliban said in a statement that the move would harm the U..S. and "increase its financial and human losses," making it look like it was more than just a political risk for Trump. It was a risk of the whole country.
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