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As the year-long peace process crumbles, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that peace talks are on hold and that the U.S. would not reduce military support for Afghan troops or its presence.
As a response to the United States President’s decision to suddenly cancel Afghan peace negotiations with the Taliban, the Islamist group warned Sunday that this will only result in more “losses to the U.S.”
A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, criticized Donald Trump for calling off the dialogue and said U.S. forces have been pounding Afghanistan with attacks at the same time.
On Saturday, Trump informed he decided to unilaterally cancel talks with Afghanistan’s Taliban leaders after the group claimed the attack in Kabul that killed a U.S. soldier and 11 civilians, despite already having already reached a draft peace deal between the Taliban and the U.S. last Monday.
“Its credibility will be affected, its anti-peace stance will be exposed to the world, losses to lives and assets will increase,” Mujahid added.
A Taliban representative in Doha, who is part of the team that had been negotiating team told Al Jazeera on Sunday that the group has called a meeting to discuss its next move, without further reactions to Trump’s reversal.
As the year-long peace process crumbles, in Washington Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that peace talks are on hold and that the U.S. would not reduce military support for Afghan troops or presence currently estimated at 14,000 U.S. troops and about 8,000 NATO forces, until the U.S. is convinced the Taliban could follow through on significant commitments.
"It is a psychological pressure from the U.S. government on the Taliban to concede a number of incentives that the Afghan government is asking from the United States," Intizar Khadim, a political analyst in Kabul also told Al Jazeera.
The “negotiating tactic" is intended to bend the Taliban’s hard stance against Afghanistan's Ashraf Ghani’s government since the insurgents won’t “talk to the Kabul administration as a government,” seeing they consider it a U.S. pawn.
Experts believe that it was “naive” to think that a peace deal could have been reached in the first place, as though the aim of the text was to end the war there was no formal ceasefire agreement. According to chief U.S. negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad. that was to be a responsibility for the intra-Afghan talks and Ghani’s administration, which never happened.
In a statement on Sunday, the Afghan government praised the "sincere efforts of its allies" and expressed its commitment to work with the U.S. "to bring lasting peace".
As uncertainty reigns now in Afghanistan, presidential elections loom closer. On Sept. 28, Ghani seeks re-election to a second five-year term while facing strong rejection from the Taliban, who have warned civilians to not campaign or head to the polls, dismissing them as a sham.
Without an end in sight, the war in Afghanistan will continue to be Washington’s longest conflict in its history. It was started after the September 11 attacks in New York City when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan as part of the so-called "war on terror" to dismantle Al-Qaeda by removing the Taliban from power.
Almost US$975 billion has been spent and approximately 220,000 people have died.