The Latest: Afghan gov’t says US, Taliban won’t keep talking

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on U.S. negotiations to end the war in Afghanistan (all times local):

3:15 a.m.

The Afghan government says it doesn’t believe talks between the United States and Taliban will continue “at this stage” after President Donald Trump abruptly called them off.

Afghan presidential spokesman Sediq Seddqi spoke to reporters hours after Trump in a series of tweets announced that he had canceled a secret meeting set for Sunday at Camp David with Taliban and Afghan leaders.

The surprise announcement came after a U.S.-Taliban deal that a U.S. envoy said had been reached “in principle” on ending America’s longest war faced growing criticism in Afghanistan and Washington.

The Afghan government has been sidelined in the talks, and the presidential spokesman is calling for an Afghan-led peace process in which the Taliban and government speak directly and there is a ceasefire.

Seddiqi would not say whether Trump’s abrupt decision has hurt peace efforts going forward.


9:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he was set this weekend to meet at Camp David with leaders of the Taliban to negotiate a peace deal in Afghanistan.

But Trump says he called off that meeting, and a separate one with Afghanistan’s president, after a Taliban bombing that killed an American soldier and 11 other people.

In a tweet Saturday evening, Trump questioned why the insurgent group thought a deadly bombing would improve their negotiating position.

The president has been under pressure from the Afghan government and some U.S. lawmakers who mistrust the Taliban and think it’s too early to withdraw American forces.

Trump has pledged to withdraw the remaining 13,000 to 14,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan and end U.S. involvement in a conflict that is closing in on 18 years.

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