Donald Trump hoped that by secretly flying Taliban leaders to the United States for meetings, along with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, to Camp David — just days before the 18th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, as The Inquisitr reported — he would emerge after the talks to make a "grand announcement" that peace in Afghanistan had been achieved.
But according to a Sunday report by The New York Times, based on interviews with both U.S. and Taliban officials, no such deal, or announcement, was ever possible. The Taliban leaders went even further, issuing a statement threatening that more American lives will be lost as a result of the canceled talks.
Trump claimed via Twitter on Saturday that he pulled the plug on the meetings in response to a Taliban bombing on Thursday that claimed 12 lives in the Afghanistan capital of Kabul, including the life of an American soldier.
But according to The New York Times report, the supposed peace talks had already broken down before Trump made his announcement, with Taliban leaders saying that they refuse to meet or strike a deal with the Afghan government.
"If Trump and his administration think they would solve the confrontation between the government and the Taliban somewhere in Washington in a meeting, that's not possible because we do not recognize the stooge government," a "senior Taliban leader" told The Times.
"This will lead to more losses to the U.S.," Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told the Reuters news agency. "Its credibility will be affected, its anti-peace stance will be exposed to the world, losses to lives and assets will increase."
Taliban officials told The New York Times that they had received an invitation in late August from the Trump administration, to visit the United States for talks. But they said that they had not yet decided to actually accept the invitation, and were waiting to do so until they finalized a deal with the United States.
U.S. negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad said on Monday that a peace deal "in principle" had been reached with the Taliban according to CBS News. The deal would require the U.S. to withdraw about 5,000 troops of the 14,000 stationed in Afghanistan, over a 135-day period. But what the U.S. would receive in terms of concessions from the Taliban as part of the deal remained unclear.
According to the CBS News report, the Trump administration simply sought "assurances" from the Taliban that they would not harbor terrorists or use Afghan territory as a site for planning terrorist attacks. The Taliban, which then ruled Afghanistan, provided a haven for the terror network Al Qaeda and its leader, the late Osama bin Laden, as they planned the 9/11 attacks on the United States, as a history by ABC News recounts.