Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 23 September 2019

Donald Trump says peace talks with Taliban are 'dead'

US president says he has no problem meeting Iran's Rouhani

US President Donald Trump on Monday said peace talks with the Afghan Taliban were "dead" after an attack in Kabul that killed an American soldier.

"They're dead, they're dead. As far as I am concerned, they're dead," Mr Trump said, two days after he took to Twitter to call off a secret summit with the militant group and the Afghan government at the presidential resort, Camp David.

The announcement follows nine rounds of talks between the US and the Taliban in Doha this year.

Mr Trump said the aim was still to leave the war-torn country but it had to be done at the right time.

"We have been serving as policemen in Afghanistan, and that was not meant to be the job of our great soldiers, the finest on earth," he tweeted on Monday.

"Over the last four days we have been hitting our enemy harder than at any time in the last 10 years."

Mr Trump said the Camp David meeting was his idea: "I did not discuss it with anyone else."

Even though he cancelled those plans, he said that meeting "bad people" is the only way to end wars.

But some experts do not necessarily see this as the end of US-Taliban talks, which have been led by the US State Department and special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.

"The US and Taliban could still use a deal," said Marvin Weinbaum, director for Afghanistan and Pakistan studies at the Middle East Institute.

Mr Weinbaum wrote on Monday that by taking part in the Doha talks, the Taliban is banking on “international recognition as a legitimate political alternative".

For Mr Trump, the talks “would still be welcome as a trophy he could carry into his re-election campaign, having a negotiated agreement that would allow American troops to leave Afghanistan".

But US media outlets said the Camp David summit proposal was rejected by US Vice President Mike Pence and National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump also repeated his willingness to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, saying he had "no problem with the idea".

Updated: September 10, 2019 10:48 AM

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