Trump says peace talks with Taliban are now ‘dead’

WASHINGTON — U.S. peace talks with the Taliban are now “dead,” President Donald Trump declared Monday, two days after he abruptly canceled a secret meeting he had arranged with Taliban and Afghan leaders aimed at ending America’s longest war.

Trump’s remark to reporters at the White House suggested he sees no point in resuming a nearly yearlong effort to reach a political settlement with the Taliban, whose protection of al-Qaida extremists in Afghanistan prompted the U.S. to invade after the 9/11 attacks.

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Asked about the peace talks, Trump said: “They’re dead. They’re dead. As far as I’m concerned, they’re dead.”

It’s unclear whether Trump will go ahead with planned U.S. troop cuts and how the collapse of his talks will play out in deeply divided Afghanistan. Trump said his administration is “looking at” whether to proceed with troop reductions that had been one element of the preliminary deal with the Taliban struck by presidential envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.

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What had seemed like a potential deal to end America’s longest war unraveled, with Trump and the Taliban blaming each other for the collapse of nearly a year of U.S.-Taliban negotiations in Doha, Qatar.

The insurgents are now promising more bloodshed, and American advocates of withdrawing questioned on Monday whether Trump’s decision to cancel what he called plans for a secret meeting with Taliban and Afghan leaders over the weekend had poisoned the prospects for peace.

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