Sep 9, 2019

Trump says U.S.-Taliban peace talks are "dead" after Kabul attack

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump told reporters outside the White House on Monday that U.S. peace talks with the Taliban are "dead" after the group claimed responsibility for a bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, last week that killed an American service member.

The big picture: Trump called off a secret meeting at Camp David this weekend as a result of the bombing, dealing a blow to the "in principle" agreement between the two sides that would have seen 5,400 U.S. troops leave Afghanistan. The Taliban responded on Sunday by claiming that Trump's decision to abruptly end peace talks will cost American lives. Afghans are now bracing for a fresh round of Taliban violence, AP reported Monday.

  • The decision to invite the leaders of the militant group drew backlash from both Democrats and Republicans, many of whom drew attention to the fact that the meeting would take place days before the anniversary of 9/11.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended the idea on ABC News' "This Week," arguing: "If you're going to negotiate peace, you often have to deal with some pretty bad actors."
  • Pompeo added on CNN's "State of the Union" that the U.S. is still interested in a peace deal, but the Taliban must agree to preconditions such as "certain reductions in violence" and breaking with al-Qaeda.

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House panel subpoenas U.S. Afghanistan envoy in probe of failed peace talks

Zalmay Khalilzad. Photo: Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images

The House Foreign Affairs Committee subpoenaed U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad on Thursday, ordering him to testify about how months-long peace talks with the Taliban “went off the rails," Politico reports.

Why it matters: This is the committee's first subpoena of the 116th Congress, and it highlights a lack of information from the State Department on the Trump administration's Afghanistan peace plan, according to statements from Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.).

Go deeperArrowSep 13, 2019

Mark Esper: Trump ordered stepped-up military operations in Afghanistan

Defense Secretary Mark Esper (L) and President Trump (R). Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Mark Esper indicated on Friday that President Trump has ordered the U.S. military to step up attacks against militants in Afghanistan following failed peace talks with the Taliban, Politico reports.

Where it stands: A Taliban delegation recently met with U.S. diplomat and special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad for informal discussions in the Pakistani capital, the New York Times reports. Taliban members did not identify the talks as formal peace discussions, but said "that one may take place in the future."

Go deeperArrowOct 5, 2019

U.S. service member killed in Afghanistan as Taliban peace talks fizzle

U.S. soldiers walk at the site of a Taliban suicide attack in Kandahar. Photo: Javed Tanveer/AFP/Getty Images

An American Special Forces soldier in eastern Afghanistan was killed in action on Monday, bringing the total U.S. service members to die during combat operations to 17 this year, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: The death comes one week after the Trump administration called off peace talks with the Taliban after a bombing in Kabul killed a U.S. soldier. The Afghanistan war is America's longest, with almost 18 years having passed since Operation Enduring Freedom began. The White House had wanted to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in 2020, but the plans have since stalled amid uncertainty over the future of peace talks.

Go deeper: House panel subpoenas U.S. Afghanistan envoy in probe of failed peace talks

Keep ReadingArrowSep 16, 2019