At least 16 people were killed in a massive blast claimed by the Taliban in Kabul (Photo: PTI)
US President Donald Trump on Saturday tweeted that secret meetings that were to be held at Camp David with Taliban leaders and the Afghan president on Sunday had been cancelled following a bombing in Kabul last week. “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 soldiers, and 11 other people,” Trump tweeted about the Taliban.
“I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations,” the US president said.
At least 16 people were killed in a massive blast claimed by the Taliban in Kabul. "Sixteen killed, 119 wounded in last night’s attack. The explosion was caused by a tractor filled with explosives,” interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi on September 3 had said.
Kabul has been gripped by a surge in deadly violence even after the US and the insurgents reached an agreement “in principle” that would see the US pull thousands of troops from Afghanistan in return for various Taliban security promises.
The Taliban have continued bloody assaults on civilians and security forces even as their leaders meet with U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar to negotiate an end to nearly 18 years of war.
The United States in the negotiations has also sought Taliban guarantees that Afghanistan will no longer be a launching pad for terror attacks such as the September 11, 2001, attack on the US by al-Qaida. The Taliban government had harbored al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
Some 20,000 US and NATO forces remain in Afghanistan after formally ending their combat role in 2014.
Fearing a return to power of the hardline Taliban, many worry the deal and subsequent negotiations will lead to a reduction in personal freedoms and limited women’s rights that modern Afghans have grown accustomed to.
US troops were first sent to Afghanistan after the September 11, 2001 attacks carried out by Al-Qaeda, which was sheltered by the former Taliban regime. Washington now wants to end its military involvement—the longest in its history—and has been talking to the Taliban since at least 2018.