US President Donald Trump has described the negotiations with the Taliban as "dead" following the cancellation of his planned meeting with a high-ranking representative of the insurgents. "They're dead as far as I'm concerned," Trump told reporters in the White House. The US president said he was still aiming for a withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, but did not specify a timetable. "We would like to go, but we will go at the right time."
On Twitter, Trump wrote, "Over the past four days, we've hit our enemy harder than ever in the past decade!" US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that in the previous ten days alone, "more than a thousand Taliban" had been killed.
On Saturday night, Trump wrote on Twitter that he had planned secret meetings with the Taliban and - separately - with Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani for Sunday's Camp David. He had canceled the meetings and the "peace negotiations" because of a deadly attack by the Taliban in the Afghan capital Kabul. The attack killed at least 16 people, including one US soldier.
Disagreement over the meeting with the Taliban was "false news"
Shortly after the termination of the talks Pompeo did not rule out their resumption. The group must change their "attitudes" and keep their promises, said Pompeo the US television station ABC News. By now Trump explained the talks for "dead", he made it clear that he sees at least for the time being, no chance for their continuation.
Trump also denied that there had been disagreements in his government over the originally planned meeting with Taliban officials. Trump described it as a "false news" that he planned this meeting against the wishes of Vice President Mike Pence and other advisors.
Earlier, the Federal Government in Berlin had expressed its hope for a speedy resumption of the peace process. "An end to the violence in Afghanistan can only be achieved through a political process," said a spokesman for the Foreign Office. He also blamed the Taliban for the current "harsh setback".