Trump Calls Off Meeting with Taliban, Peace Talks Flounder

Photo: US airstrike that killed 30 in Afghanistan in November 2018.

By Jennifer Kelly

On Saturday night, US President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he was calling for an end to negotiations with the Taliban, including a previously undisclosed meeting scheduled for Sunday at Camp David with the president of the Afghan puppet government, Ashraf Ghani. Talks were allegedly canceled because the Taliban took credit for a bombing the previous week that killed 12, including a US soldier.

The Taliban and the US had been ironing out the beginnings of a “peace” agreement, with a document finalized “in principle” between the two. During these negotiations, neither the Taliban nor the US agreed to any kind of ceasefire, with both sides escalating attacks.

Figures from the UN show that the US and its puppet government in Afghanistan have killed more civilians in Afghanistan than the Taliban has thus far in 2019. The US is notorious for its indiscriminate aerial attacks, including its horrific drone strike practices like the infamous “double tap,” where those rendering aid to people injured in a drone strike are subsequently targeted by drones.

The Taliban disputes Trump’s version of the story for why the talks were called off. They had previously refused to negotiate with the Afghan government and felt tricked by their proposed presence at Camp David.

“We promised there would be intra Afghan talks once we finalized our agreement with the Americans,” a senior Taliban leader said. “If Trump and his administration think they would solve the confrontation between the government and the Taliban somewhere in Washington in a meeting, that’s not possible because we do not recognize the stooge government.”

The Taliban also said that Trump’s decision to cancel the talk would only have consequences for the US, but that they were open to returning to negotiations.

“More than anyone else, the loss will be for the United States – their standing will be hurt, their anti- peace position will be clearer to the world, their casualties and financial loss will increase and their political actions will come across as unstable,” the Taliban representative said. “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.”

The US has been militarily defeated in Afghanistan. It is suing for temporary peace with an organization that for decades it had recognized only as terrorists, even going so far as to leave its puppet government out of the peace talks entirely.

After 18 years of war, US imperialism has been able to achieve nothing but a mountain of dead and its own defeat. Backing down from the peace talks now will not change the final outcome.