President Donald Trump revealed Saturday he was secretly planning to meet with Taliban leaders for "peace negotiations," but called off the talks after the terrorist group killed yet another U.S. service member.
Trump said he planned to meet with Taliban leadership and, separately, Afghani President Ashraf Ghani at Camp David on Sunday.
"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," Trump said. "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. What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position?"
"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," he added.
"How many more decades are they willing to fight?" Trump questioned.
According to NBC News, U.S. officials have been working on a deal with the Taliban, the terrorist group that harbored Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, in order to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan and promote peace in the region.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. envoy negotiating with the Taliban, said last week an agreement had been reached "in principle," and it only needed Trump's approval.
However, Taliban leadership has rejected calls for a ceasefire and instead continues to use violence for leverage in negotiations. The group carried out two major bombings in the capital city of Kabul last week, including one that killed U.S. Army Sergeant 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz of Puerto Rico.
About 14,000 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan.
Trump's stateside negotiations were slated to happen three days before the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths.