Pompeo says Trump called off secret Taliban meeting over failure to live up to commitments

Credit: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Credit: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

President Donald Trump announced Saturday that he was scrapping plans for a secret Camp David meeting with Afghanistan's president and leaders of the Taliban after the terrorist group claimed responsibility for a bombing that killed an American soldier in Afghanistan, multiple news outlets reported.

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Update 1:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 8: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said President Donald Trump called off a secret meeting with Taliban leaders scheduled for this weekend at Camp David over a "failed series of commitments."

"We've made enormous progress over the last months working with the Afghan government of national unity and other Afghans as well as with the Taliban," Pompeo said in an interview Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

"We finally reached a point where we were close. We'd made real progress and then the Taliban failed to live up to a series of commitments that they had made and when that happened, President Trump said, 'I'm not gonna take that deal, I'm not gonna work with someone who can't deliver on their commitments,'" Pompeo said.

"A deal, an agreement, is just a piece of paper and we have to actually see that change in behavior."

Pompeo said in any deal with the Afghans or the Taliban "we've got to get it right."

BREAKING: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the U.S. had "made real progress" in peace talks, but "the Taliban failed to live up to a series of commitments," when asked about President Trump canceling a secret meeting with Taliban leaders at Camp David https://t.co/YXQEmGEJQ6 pic.twitter.com/CMKvz9tsIu— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) September 8, 2019

Original story: According to The Associated Press and The New York Times, Trump said he had planned to hold talks with the Taliban leaders, as well as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, on Sunday at the Maryland retreat; however, following Thursday's suicide car bombing, which left U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Elis Barreto-Ortiz and 11 others dead, he decided to cancel the meeting and further peace negotiations.

"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," Trump tweeted Saturday afternoonaccording to the AP. "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 cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations."

Afghanistan's government released a statement saying that "a real peace will come when the Taliban stop killing Afghans and implement a ceasefire and start direct negotiations with the Afghan government," the AP reported.

A Taliban representative declined to comment on Trump's announcement or verify that a meeting had been planned, according to the APThe Times also reported that members of the insurgent group "have not yet confirmed that they ever planned to attend such a meeting."

Zalmay Khalilzad, U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan, began negotiating with Taliban leaders last winter and previously said he was nearing a peace deal, the news outlets reported.

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– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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