Accusations fly as secret Trump and Taliban talks collapse
Donald Trump has called off negotiations with the Taliban in a stunning reversal that followed the group's refusal to travel to the US to sign a withdrawal deal.
The president said he had cancelled the previously unannounced summit at Camp David and halted negotiations with the militants after a Kabul bomb attack last week killed an American soldier.
The meetings with both Taliban envoys and Ashraf Ghani's Afghan government had been due yesterday as a final push to sign a deal paving the way for a US withdrawal.
However, senior Taliban officials told the 'New York Times' they had rejected a last-minute invitation from Mr Trump to Washington, which would have granted the president the possibility of a grand televised ceremony, being reluctant to appear alongside the Afghan government and believing it to be a political trick.
"If Trump and his administration think they would solve the confrontation between the government and the Taliban somewhere in Washington in a meeting, that's not possible because we do not recognise the stooge government," one official told the paper.
Mr Trump came up with the Camp David gambit in late August after taking more interest in the talks following recent stinging criticism.
In a series of tweets on Saturday, Mr Trump said he had cancelled a meeting with the Taliban's "major leaders" after the group claimed responsibility for detonating a van full of explosives at a checkpoint behind Nato HQ in Kabul.
A week ago, Zalmay Khalilzad, Mr Trump's lead negotiator, Taliban and US envoys had finalised "in principle" a deal to start a troop withdrawal to end America's longest war.
Mr Khalilzad said 5,000 US troops would withdraw in the coming months.
(© Daily Telegraph, London)