Kabul, September 8: Afghanistan praised the "sincere efforts of its allies" Sunday after US President Donald Trump said he had called off negotiations with the Taliban, apparently ending a year-long diplomatic push to exit America's longest war. "The Afghan government, in relation to the peace, appreciates the sincere efforts of its allies and is committed to working together with the United States and other allies to bring a lasting peace," said a statement from President Ashraf Ghani's office.
The statement came after Trump tweeted late Saturday that he had planned unprecedented, albeit separate, talks with the Taliban and with Ghani Sunday at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland. The secret talks would have come after months of diplomatic wrangling between the US and the Taliban over a deal that would allow Washington to begin withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan. US Says Latest Taliban Talks ‘Most Productive’ So Far.
But after the Taliban killed 12 people in a single attack in Kabul this week, including a US soldier, Trump said he "immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations". His announcement left the withdrawal deal shrouded in uncertainty. The US-backed government in Kabul had eyed the deal with deep unease and long complained of being sidelined from the talks.
"We have always insisted that a real peace can only be achieved if the Taliban stop killing Afghans and accept a ceasefire, and face-to-face talks with the Afghan government," the statement from Ghani's office said. A presidential election is scheduled for September 28, and Kabul "insists" the polls should be held to establish "a strong, lawful and legitimate government so that it can take forward the peace process with wisdom".