WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Saturday he canceled a secret weekend meeting at Camp David with Taliban and Afghanistan leaders after a bombing in the past week in Kabul that killed 11 people, including an American soldier, and has called off peace negotiations with the insurgent group.

Trump’s tweet was surprising because it would mean that the president was ready to host members of the Taliban at the presidential retreat in Maryland just days before the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. More than 2,400 U.S. troops have been killed since the U.S. invaded Afghanistan to go after the Taliban, which were harboring al-Qaida leaders responsible for 9/11.

Canceling the talks also goes against Trump’s pledge to withdraw the remaining 13,000 to 14,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan and close U.S. involvement in the conflict that is closing in on 18 years.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the Trump administration’s diplomat talking to the Taliban leaders for months, has said recently that he was on the “threshold” of an agreement with the Taliban aimed at ending America’s longest war. The president, however, has been under pressure from the Afghan government and some lawmakers, including Trump supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who mistrust the Taliban and think it’s too early to withdraw American forces.

“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 tweeted Saturday evening.

“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 great soldiers, and 11 other people. I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations,” he wrote.

On Thursday, a Taliban car bomb exploded and killed an American soldier, a Romanian service member and 10 civilians in a busy diplomatic area near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. The bombing was one of many attacks by the Taliban in recent days during U.S.-Taliban talks.

The Defense Department says Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz, 34, from Morovis, Puerto Rico, was killed in action when the explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was the fourth U.S. service member killed in the past two weeks in Afghanistan.

“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 tweeted. “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. How many more decades are they willing to fight?”

It remains unclear if the U.S.-Taliban talks are over or only paused. Trump said he called off the peace negotiations after the bombing, but Khalilzad, the U.S. envoy negotiating with the Taliban, was meeting with leaders of the insurgent group in Doha, Qatar, on both Thursday and Friday.

The State Department and the White House declined to respond to requests for clarification.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(16) comments


Has to crow about what he knows about what didn't happen that no one knew about


There has been numerous terrorists at Camp David negotiating peace accords by other Presidents and this idea of Trump to meet with the Taliban on our soil was a good thing. Obama and his staff met with Iranian officials in the US numerous times to set up that sweet heart of a deal giving them billions to aid their nuclear program so again liberals just hating life and hating a man who was not to win an election due to collusion between Clinton, Obama admin and the Russians and here we are today with a President that has turned around the economy and giving us something to be proud of in a long time.


Absolutely no meetings with Middle East terrorists on our soil. Meet with them at a military base in the Middle East.


Too dangerous to negotiate with the Taliban - when a hurricane could hit Alabama any time without warning.


They will reseed the greens and replace the sand in the traps. Alabama Strong!


[thumbup]Or even without other pressing distractions. Stay home, terrorists


Demonstrating once again that peace is the enemy of dictators and despots and authoritarians. The last thing they want is peace. They thrive on wars, terrorist attacks, diplomatic failures. These events give them excuses to create emergencies and then propose "solutions" to those emergencies, making them look respectable and intelligent when they are neither. Reagan for example negotiated with terrorists to become an international arms supplier to other terrorists. He gave his own terrorists a different name to disguise his stupidity. Dumbya of course was the master of terrorist kissing, starting a regional war and throwing the whole area into chaos that continues to this day. The current autocratic slug in the Oval Office is just following his party's predecessors. It knows nothing, cares for nobody, debases everything.


Based on his recent behavior, I don't believe that there were any "secret" talks planned. Just another rambling statement from a mentally deteriorating man trying to sound tough. I'll believe the story of a secret meeting when the Afghans and Taliban confirm it. At this point I would believe the enemy before believing our own President. SAD!


Again illustrating the unending potential for disaster, further tragedy and embarrassment for our country, when you have an ignoramus sitting in the Oval Office, who also just happens to be a pathological liar. Another example of the joke sold to Republican syncophants: Making America Great again...........


Does he really think we will believe he was going to get the Taliban leaders in one place, at the same time, and that place be on U.S. soil? The way to start taking out the Taliban is to take out their leaders. I highly doubt they'd put themselves in that situation.


...say that we do not negotiate with terrorists.


Mr. President, have you ever heard any of your former office occupants that we do not negotiate with terrorists?


Obama comes quickly to mind.


so does nixon, reagan, and bush. can go more if you like. but i think i disproved your simple statement already.


Samantha, perhaps Rikki's mind is not as discriminating as I thought!


Rikki- you are just sad in your defense of nonsense. No longer worth a response.

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