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Trump Declares US-Taliban Talks Dead, Says He Could Do Things to End War that Would Cost Lives

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Trump Declares US-Taliban Talks Dead, Says He Could Do Things to End War that Would Cost Lives

2019-09-10 16:24:241 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Donald Trump (Image: Screenshot)


Donald Trump was unusually silent after he announced that he canceled secret talks he was going to hold with the Taliban and Afghanistan leaders at Camp David.


Before going silent on the matter, he seemed particularly upset that they admitted to violence that killed one of our military personnel. He started discussing the situation again on Monday, declared the talks dead, but said he could do "certain things" that would cost millions of lives to end the war.  

He found the news that they took a life so disturbing, yet now he is threatening to make a move that could cost millions of lives.


Trump tweeted on Saturday that "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." 

"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," wrote Trump.


After announcing he canceled the meeting and called off the negotiations, he questioned, "What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position?" 

Yet on Monday, Trump resorted to issuing threats, as he is likely to do, and threatened the lives of millions, just two days after he expressed how wrong it was to take 12 lives.


He made the remarks as he was leaving the White House, heading to an appearance in North Carolina. He was discussing the talks that U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad led with the Taliban for more than a year, working toward ending the U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan. The U.S. has maintained a presence there since the September 11, 2011 terrorist attacks. 

As far as the the current state of the talks, Trump said on Monday, "They're dead. They're dead. As far as I'm concerned, they're dead."


This went against what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on several Sunday morning news shows. He supported Trump's position of inviting the Taliban and Afghanistan leaders to Camp David and said, "I hope we get them started back. It will ultimately be up to the Taliban." 

He also said Khalilzad was being brought back to Washington "to chart the path forward," indicating the talks would resume at some point.


Other than the talks, it also leaves a question of what will happen to the U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan where they have been for 18 years. Trump has been pushing for some time to withdraw the U.S. presence, and the agreement that was being discussed would have pulled 5,000 of the current 14,500 troops within 135 days after the deal was completed. 

"We would beat them very easily militarily if we wanted to, by doing certain things, and I'm not talking nuclear," Trump said on Monday.


"We could have that over with very, very rapidly, but you would lose millions and millions of lives, and I don't want to do that." 

He made a similar comment in July when he said, "If I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the Earth," and once again said he didn't want to kill so many people.


Trump had pushed to hold the negotiations at Camp David, despite Vice President Mike Pence and National Security Adviser John Bolton, advising against it, according to people familiar with the negotiations. 

Before canceling the talks, Trump said he didn't consult advisers and acted on his "own advice." He tweeted on Monday afternoon, "I always think it is good to meet and talk, but in this case I decided not to."


While it has been reported that he went against the advice of Pence and advisers, he wrote that with regard to the stories that he "overruled the VP and various advisers on a potential Camp David meeting with the Taliban," the "story is false!" 

He told reporters when he was speaking to them that he felt the criticism over his plan to meet at Camp David wasn't as important as ending the war. Additionally, he said that he wouldn't hold the meeting at the White House, as that was going too far.

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