National Security

Trump Declares Peace Talks Between U.S. and Taliban ‘Are Dead’

'There have been plenty of so-called bad people brought up to Camp David for meetings,' the president reminded reporters on Monday afternoon — others weighed in on this as well

Image Credit: Screenshot, YouTube

President Donald Trump said on Monday that peace talks between the United States and the Taliban over the war in Afghanistan are “dead,” after he canceled “secret” plans over the weekend for a Camp David summit, as Fox News and other outlets reported.

“They’re dead. They’re dead. As far as I’m concerned, they’re dead,” Trump said on Monday afternoon.

The president made these comments to media members as he departed the White House grounds. He held a “Keep America Great” rally on Monday night in Fayetteville, North Carolina, ahead of a special election in that state on Tuesday.

Over the weekend, the president said he had intended to hold a “secret meeting” at Camp David on Sunday with Taliban representatives — but that he called it off due to the Taliban’s role in a fatal bombing in Kabul last week. That bombing resulted in the death of a U.S. soldier.

Related: Sec. of State Mike Pompeo: Taliban ‘Forgot America Is Always Going to Protect Its Interests’

“They thought they had to kill people in order to put them in a little better negotiating position,” Trump told reporters on Monday, as news outlets recounted. He added, “You can’t do that. You can’t do that with me.”

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Trump’s tweet about the “secret” and now called-off Camp David meeting took many by surprise because it suggested he was prepared to host Taliban members in this country, at the presidential retreat in Maryland — and to do so mere days before the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on this country.

More than 2,400 U.S. troops have been killed since the U.S. invaded Afghanistan to go after the Taliban, Fox News pointed out — a group that was harboring al-Qaida leaders responsible for 9/11.

Trump defended his plans, however: “There have been plenty of so-called bad people brought up to Camp David for meetings. The alternative was the White House and you wouldn’t have been happy with that, either.”

Speaking on “Special Report with Bret Baier” on Fox News on Monday night, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in part, “What has transpired now is the president has done exactly the right thing. This president has shown that he is willing consistently to walk away from bad deals. He walked away from the nuclear deal with Iran. He walked away from the INF Treaty. This is a president who has demonstrated his willingness and his ability and his determination not to be let the United States be taken advantage of,” she added.

Related: President Tweets Dramatic Photo of Lightning Behind Air Force One

“And I think what you’ve seen now with the announcement that the talks are dead, with the announcement that they’ve been canceled, is the president demonstrating that he fully understands that the Taliban cannot be a partner for peace, and that the United States should not be in a position where we’re putting our security in their hands.”

She noted that, in honesty, “I would not have them at Camp David. I would not have them in the United States. I think that it’s crucially important, though, that we recognize what is at stake in Afghanistan. And what the president has done is, he has said, ‘I am not going to make a situation where the United States has to put our counterterrorism responsibilities and obligations in the hands of the Taliban.'”

“We have to prevent safe havens,” added Cheney. “It’s very important that we recognize the importance of that, particularly as we get here, again, close to the anniversary of 9/11.”

She also said that “there are over 20 foreign terrorist organizations operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan today. It’s the highest concentration of terrorist organizations anywhere in the world. And our responsibility and the president’s responsibility, as he fully knows, is to make sure that they cannot form safe havens from which to launch attacks against us.”

On Sunday morning, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on “Fox News Sunday,” “President Trump has made clear he wants to reduce risks to Americans. You showed the pictures last night from the dignified transfer [of] the remains of Sergeant First Class Barreto. I was out there with his family. It’s a reminder to all of us of the enormous costs and sacrifice these [American] heroes make for us each and every day. President Trump is trying to reduce that risk.”

“We’ve been working for months for a peace and reconciliation deal.”

“At the same time, he’s committed to making sure that we reduce the risk that terror should ever strike the United States from Afghanistan again.”

Pompeo added to anchor Chris Wallace, “And so, we’ve been working for months for a peace and reconciliation deal. We’ve been working with the Afghan government, working with other Afghan leaders, been working with the Taliban to try and reduce the level of violence to commence — and you would know this, Chris, we’ve been trying to get the Afghans to talk to each other, this basic idea for almost two decades now, and we had their — the Taliban’s commitment to do that. We had their commitment to break from al-Qaida publicly, and they would obviously have to deliver on that commitment. So we’ve made real progress.”

“But in the end, the Taliban overreached,” noted Pompeo. “They forgot that America is always going to protect its interests. The commander, the commander of Resolute Support and the NATO forces — they are still at this hard. We killed over a thousand Taliban just in the last 10 days.”

“And while this isn’t a war of attrition, the American people should know we will continue to apply the appropriate pressure to make sure that we’re never struck with terror again from Afghanistan.”

Share your thoughts on this topic — and see the president’s tweets on the topic earlier on Monday:

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