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Taliban vows to keep fighting and says Donald Trump will 'regret' ending Afghanistan peace talks 

10 Sep 2019 Daily Mail Online

The Taliban vowed to keep fighting US forces in Afghanistan on Tuesday adding that US President Donald Trump would 'regret' abandoning recent peace talks.

The renewed war of words between the two sides raised the spectre of violence in Afghanistan as Trump and the Taliban pledged to take the fight to each other following the precipitous collapse in talks.

'We had two ways to end occupation in Afghanistan, one was jihad and fighting, the other was talks and negotiations,' Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.

'If Trump wants to stop talks, we will take the first way and they will soon regret it.'

US President Donald Trump (pictured left) can be seen talking to the press on the White House Lawn yesterday. An alleged member of the Taliban is pictured on the right. After the recent breakdown in peace talks between America and the Taliban, the Afghani insurgents pledged that Washington would 'regret' Trump's withdrawal and vowed to keep fighting

The Taliban's statement came hours after Trump told reporters that the US was walking away from negotiations after nearly a year of talks that aimed to pave the way for an American withdrawal from Afghanistan following 18 years of war.

'They are dead. As far as I am concerned, they are dead,' Trump said at the White House.

The announcement followed Trump's dramatic cancellation of a top-secret plan to fly Taliban leaders in for direct talks at the Camp David presidential facility outside Washington.

Alleged Taliban fighters and other militants stand handcuffed while being presented to the media at a police headquarters in Jalalabad on March 6, 2018. Trump tweeted this week that the number of Taliban members killed by the US is increasing with more enemy deaths than those in the last decade

Driving another nail into the coffin of what had appeared to be nearly finalised negotiations, Trump said a US military onslaught on the guerrillas was at its fiercest level in a decade.

'Over the last four days, we have been hitting our Enemy harder than at any time in the last ten years!,' he wrote in a tweet.

On Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that 'we've killed over a thousand Taliban in just the last 10 days.'

Trump angrily denied that the whiplash effect of his sudden shifts on Afghanistan was causing turmoil. 

Peace talks were meant to discuss the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, a prerequisite for peace in the country. Part of Trump's 2016 presidential campaign pledged to withdraw US troops from majority Muslim countries like Syria and Afghanistan. The recent bomb blast which killed a US soldier in Kabul, caused Trump to withdraw from the negotiations

Until this weekend, there had been steadily mounting expectations of a deal that would see the US draw down troop levels in Afghanistan.

In return, the Taliban would offer security guarantees to keep extremist groups out.

But then on Saturday, Trump revealed that he had cancelled an unprecedented meeting between the Taliban and himself at storied Camp David.

He said this was in retaliation for the killing of a US soldier by the Taliban in a huge Kabul bomb blast last week.

The cancellation - announced on Twitter - was the first time most Americans learned that such a dramatic meeting was even planned.

The Taliban were set to visit the presidential retreat on the eve of the anniversary of the September 11 attacks

Many in Washington were shocked and some were angry that the Taliban had been about to visit the presidential retreat on the eve of the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

There was also widespread consternation at the characteristically unpredictable manner of Trump's negotiating style.

But Trump denied any discord among government members including Vice President Mike Pence.

In a tweet, he accused journalists of trying 'to create the look of turmoil in the White House, of which there is none.'

Trump added that he had no second thoughts about his actions.

'In terms of advisers, I took my own advice,' he later told reporters. 

A big part of Trump's 2016 election victory and subsequent first term in office has been his determination to keep the US out of what he sees as unnecessary wars in Syria and other mostly Muslim countries.

Despite a fiercely pro-Israeli foreign policy and the presence of hawks like national security adviser John Bolton in his cabinet, he has so far resisted escalating the military standoff with longtime foe Iran.

Getting out of Afghanistan, where US troops have fought a largely fruitless battle against the Taliban over nearly two decades, was a top priority.

It is widely thought that Trump has been pushing for a withdrawal of US troops in time for his 2020 reelection bid.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speaks during a ceremony to introduce the new chief of the intelligence service, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. Ghani, whose government was sidelined in the US-Taliban talks, again declared that his country was ready to meet with the Taliban but that 'negotiation without a cease-fire is not possible'

Trump repeated on Monday that he wanted 'to get out by the earliest possible time.'

However, whether because of last week's killing of a US soldier, as he says, or due to wider misgivings, that goal now appears in tatters.

'They did a mistake,' Trump said of the Taliban's deadly bomb attack.

Several Republican lawmakers concurred with the president's decision on the talks.

'I've never believed that a deal with the Taliban is either easy or imminent,' Senator Marco Rubio said.

Senator Mitt Romney said that 'it wouldn't have been my choice to have the Taliban at Camp David' - an opinion echoed by Senator Ron Johnson, who said he was 'glad' the talks were not held there.

'I don't see where those negotiations go. At some point in time if you want peace you have to talk to them, I don't deny that,' said Johnson.

'But right now they're murdering too many people.'


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