Taliban vow to fight on after Trump says talks are 'dead'

Blast heard near U.S. Embassy in Kabul on 9/11 anniversary

If President Donald Trump's now-canceled plan for secret talks with Afghanistan's Taliban insurgents on USA soil was stunning, the date chosen was perhaps even more so: days before the anniversary of 9/11, the reason for the war they were going to talk about ending.

However then on Saturday, Trump revealed that he had cancelled an unprecedented assembly between the Taliban and himself at storied Camp David. Wednesday marks the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. The group's spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said to AFP, "We had two ways to end occupation in Afghanistan, one was jihad and fighting, the other was talks and negotiations".

Under a peace deal, the US would have withdrawn its troops mainly in exchange for Taliban assurances that it will not allow Afghanistan to become a haven for terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).

On Monday, Trump reiterated that the negotiations were over.

"They are dead. As far as I am concerned, they are dead", Trump said at the White House.

Kugelman tells VOA that it plays much better politically for Trump to leave Afghanistan with some type of deal than with no deal at all.

During a visit to Afghanistan on September 9, U.S. Marine General Kenneth McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, indicated to reporters that the United States was likely to increase operations against the Taliban.

Although the Trump administration has made withdrawing troops from Afghanistan a key foreign policy aim, about 14,000 troops remain in the country.

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"Over the last four days, we have been hitting our Enemy harder than at any time in the last ten years!" he wrote in a tweet.

He stated this was in retaliation for the killing of a United States soldier by the Taliban in an enormous Kabul bomb blast final week.

The president also stated that USA forces have "hit the Taliban harder in the last four days than they've been in over 10 years".

Getting out of Afghanistan, the place U.S. troops have fought a largely fruitless battle towards the Taliban over nearly twenty years, was a prime precedence.

Several Republican lawmakers concurred with the president's decision on the talks. Trump said he was cancelling a "secret" meeting at Camp David between him and the Taliban leaders, and a separate one with Afghan president Ashraf Ghani. That, Khalilzad had said, was for the Afghans to work out with the Taliban.

'I do not see the place these negotiations go. "At some point in time if you want peace you have to talk to them, I don't deny that", said Johnson.

'However proper now they're murdering too many individuals'.

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