- The US Secretary of State added that "the agreement is on paper," but it is important that "the Taliban change their attitude."
- Zalmay Khalilzad announced on Monday that an agreement with the Taliban had been finalized and only Trump's approval was needed.
- Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that while they are looking to reach a political settlement with the Taliban, Washington will wait for a good one.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a television interview that he would not talk to the Taliban unless they change their attitude. Mr. Pompeo told ABC News that the Taliban had escalated violence, and that the group had taken credit for the latest suicide attack in Kabul, which killed eight people, including an American. With this incident, President Trump said that “It is enough.”
Yesterday, President Trump tweeted that he had canceled peace talks between Taliban leaders and the Afghan president at Camp David. The US Secretary of State added that “the agreement is on paper,” but it is important that “the Taliban change their attitude.” Mr. Pompeo says Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special envoy for talks with the Taliban, is also returning to the United States.
Khalilzad announced on Monday that an agreement with the Taliban had been finalized and only Trump’s approval was needed. However, Pompeo said that “if the Taliban can’t live up to their commitments, if they’re going to continue to do the things that they’ve been doing— and as we approached this decision point in the discussions with the Afghans, they blow up Kabul and kill an American— President Trump will never do that.”
First, the US Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, confirmed yesterday that there was no denying any agreement with the Taliban. Esper said a good deal with the Taliban was acceptable, a deal that protected the security of both countries, and at the same time, paved the way for a better future for Afghans. Esper, speaking at a joint press conference with the French Defense Minister in Paris, said that while they are looking to reach a political settlement with the Taliban, Washington will wait for a good one. Speech does not imply acceptance of any agreement.
“We thought about this a long time and ultimately the president made the decision that this was the right place. We know the history of Camp David. That’s where peace has been negotiated many, many times,” Pompeo said. “And sadly you often have to deal with some pretty bad characters to get peace.”
In an interview with CNN-TV, Mr. Pompeo also said that “if the Taliban do not behave properly, if they fail to keep the promises they have made to us for weeks and months, then the President of the United States will not ease the pressure. We will not reduce our support to the Afghan forces who are fighting a severe war in Afghanistan.” The Taliban, in a re-issued statement, wrote that the postponement of the negotiation process would “bring greater terrorism to the United States itself.”