Speaking to reporters from the White House Monday afternoon, President Trump declared peace talks with the Taliban are "dead."
"They're dead. They're dead. As far as I'm concerned, they're dead," Trump said. "They thought they had to kill people in order to put them in a little better negotiating position. You can’t do that. You can’t do that with me."
Trump's comments come after he called off a secret meeting with Taliban leaders scheduled at Camp David over the weekend.
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. They were coming to the United States tonight. Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, they admitted to..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 7, 2019
....only made it worse! If they cannot agree to a ceasefire during these very important peace talks, and would even kill 12 innocent people, then they probably don’t have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway. How many more decades are they willing to fight?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 7, 2019
According to officials, the murder of Sgt. 1st Class Elis Angel Barreto Ortiz last week was a final straw after months of attacks and ramped up violence from the terrorist group. In the past year, 16 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan.
The U.S. service member killed in a suicide car bomb blast in Kabul on Thursday has been identified as Sgt. 1st Class Elis Angel Barreto Ortiz of Morovis, Puerto Rico. https://t.co/SCgNHV4zG8— ABC News (@ABC) September 7, 2019
Before his remarks, Trump tweeted about the use of force in Afghanistan, which has been reportedly ramped up as the Taliban vows to fight for "100 years." More than 1000 Taliban members have been killed in the past ten days.
We have been serving as policemen in Afghanistan, and that was not meant to be the job of our Great Soldiers, the finest on earth. Over the last four days, we have been hitting our Enemy harder than at any time in the last ten years!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 9, 2019
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did a number of high profile interviews on Sunday to discuss the issue.
“We’ve made enormous progress over the last months working with the Afghan government of national unity, other Afghans, as well as with the Taliban. We had a number of objectives. The President's mission set for the State Department has always been negotiate a resolution that allows America to have less risk to our young men and women. I was out at Dover Air Force Base a handful of hours ago with Sergeant First Class Barreto's wife and two kids. He was a great American serving in the 82nd Airborne who was killed this past week," Pompeo said on ABC News. "It’s a reminder that we got to get it right. We’ve got to protect American national security interests so that terror can never strike again from Afghanistan and at the same time reduce America’s treasure and blood that we've given for almost two decades."
"We’ve made progress. We had a commitment from the Taliban that said that they would break from Al Qaeda publicly and permanently. We had a commitment that said that they would reduce violence. George, you were in an administration that would try to get Afghans to sit at the table," he continued. "We had a commitment that they would meet in Oslo to begin reconciliation conversations. Then the Taliban overreached. They killed an American in an effort to gain leverage at the negotiating table. President Trump said enough.”
Meanwhile, President Trump continues to grapple with fulfilling his campaign promise to leave Afghanistan while ensuring the country isn't used to launch terrorist attacks, like 9/11, against the United States.