United States President Donald Trump on Friday, 7 September, tweeted saying he cancelled a secret weekend meeting at Camp David with Taliban and Afghanistan leaders after a bombing in the past week in Kabul that killed 11 people, including an American soldier. He added that he has called off peace negotiations with the insurgent group.
Kabul has been gripped by a surge in deadly violence even after the US and the insurgents reached an agreement "in principle" that would see the US pull thousands of troops from Afghanistan in return for various Taliban security promises.
On Thursday, a Taliban car bomb exploded and killed an American soldier, a Romanian service member and 10 civilians in a busy diplomatic area near the US Embassy in Kabul.
The bombing was one of many attacks by the Taliban in recent days during US-Taliban talks.
WHAT MIGHT THE CANCELLATION MEAN?
News agency Associated Press called Trump’s tweet “surprising” as it would mean that the US president was ready to host members of the Taliban at the presidential retreat in Maryland just days before the anniversary of the 11 September 2001 attacks.
Canceling the talks also goes against Trump's pledge to withdraw the remaining 13,000 to 14,000 US troops from Afghanistan and close US involvement in the conflict that is closing in on 18 years.
It remains unclear if the US-Taliban talks are over or only paused. Trump said he called off the peace negotiations after the bombing, but Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy negotiating with the Taliban, was meeting with leaders of the insurgent group in Doha, Qatar, on both Thursday and Friday.
Khalilzad, has said recently that he was on the “threshold” of an agreement with the Taliban aimed at ending America’s longest war.
The State Department and the White House declined to respond to requests for clarification.
(With inputs from AP)