Trump halts talks with Taliban over Kabul attack

U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday said he had called off peace talks with the Taliban over a recent deadly bombing in the Afghan capital Kabul.

He said Taliban leaders and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani were separately coming to the U.S. on Saturday night to meet him at Camp David, Maryland, but Trump said he had canceled the meeting.

“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,” Trump said in a tweet.

Taliban claimed responsibility for Thursday’s bombing in the east of Kabul.

“I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations. What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position?” he said.

“If they cannot agree to a cease-fire 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,” said Trump.

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

Trump’s announcement came days after top U.S. peace negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad said the U.S. had reached an agreement in principle with the Taliban.

In an interview with Afghanistan’s Tolo News, he said the U.S. forces would vacate five military bases in Afghanistan in the initial 135 days after signing of the deal.