President Trump Cancels Taliban Negotiations Last Minute and Outrage Ensues
The first that many people heard that President Trump planned to hold a meeting at Camp David with the leadership of the Taliban and the Afghan government was when he tweeted about how he had canceled the meeting recently.
“Unbeknownst to almost everyone, the major Taliban leaders and, separately, the President of Afghanistan, were going to secretly meet with me at Camp David on Sunday. 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, great soldiers, and 11 other people. I immediately canceled the meeting and called off peace negotiations. What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position? They didn’t, they only made it worse! If they cannot agree to a ceasefire 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. How many more decades are they willing to fight?”
In effect, the Afghan terrorist group blew up the deal when they blew up innocent people. The act of terrorism roused the ire of President Trump, who then canceled the planned Camp David meeting, throwing the prospect of a deal with the Taliban in doubt.
The news also elicited bipartisan outrage that the president planned to have the Taliban on American soil, to begin with, not to mention Camp David, and not to mention so soon to the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The usual anti-Trump suspects, as Ed Morrisey at Hot Air noted, were incandescent, demanding a unilateral withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Typical of the angry reactions came from Liz Chaney, a Republican member of Congress from Wyoming and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, one of the architects of the current war in Afghanistan.
“Camp David is where America’s leaders met to plan our response after al Qaeda, supported by the Taliban, killed 3000 Americans on 9/11. No member of the Taliban should set foot there. Ever. The Taliban still harbors al Qaeda. The President is right to end the talks.”
Morrisey thought the idea of the Taliban at Camp David was nuts, the equivalent of inviting Hirohito after Pearl Harbor for negotiations.
President Trump ran on the promise of extricating American troops from Afghanistan, where they have been fighting the Taliban and Al Qaeda for nearly the past 18 years. The macabre joke that has been going around is the people who were born on 9/11 are now about ready for military service because of that dastardly attack. Afghanistan has been a problem country, impervious to foreign intervention, since the time of Alexander the Great. The British Empire and the Soviet Union both failed to bring Afghanistan to heel, despite the expenditure of significant blood and treasure.
If a military solution seems to be elusive, most analysts also find that a fig leaf peace agreement followed by a Vietnam style bug out of American troops to be problematic. Without American and allied troops, the current government of Afghanistan would fall and a Taliban caliphate would ensure. A long night of Sharia oppression would fall. Afghanistan would become a terrorist stronghold again. The stain on American honor and credibility would be crushing, in the view of many.
As of this writing, it is unknown whether the Trump administration will try to restart talks at a different venue, after a “decent interval” or whether it will intensify military operations against the Taliban to provide an incentive for the terrorist army to submit to a ceasefire.
Tom Rogan, writing for the Washington Examiner, places the situation in stark terms.
“We cannot fight our way to victory in Afghanistan. A peace deal with the Taliban will ultimately be necessary. But Trump’s decision reflects a recognition that peace requires more than words. True peace requires the shared goodwill of both parties to sustain it. Until the Taliban changes its mind, American must continue to defend our interests in Afghanistan.
“That’s what our Afghan strategy entails.”
Currently, American and allied strategy consists of securing Afghan population centers and pressuring Pakistan to curtail its support of the Taliban, while supporting Afghan security forces. Clearly, according to Rogan, military pressure against the terrorists has to continue until they become more reasonable. How long that strategy can be maintained is open to question.