“We don’t want to talk to Taliban” : Trump

President Donald Trump listens as Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

 

President Donald Trump during luncheon at the White House on Monday told the U.N. Security Council ruled out the idea of negotiations with the Taliban following a recent string of deadly attacks in Afghanistan.

Trump railed against a series of “atrocities” in Afghanistan and said as a result the US would not engage in any future talks with the Taliban as the administration seeks to end a stalemate in America’s longest war.

“I don’t see any talking taking place. I don’t think we’re prepared to talk right now. It’s a whole different fight over there. They’re killing people left and right. Innocent people are being killed left and right,” Trump told reporters.

“So, we don’t want to talk with the Taliban. There may be a time but it’s going to be a long time,” he said. The president’s comments followed a deadly car bombing attack in Kabul, the Afghan capital, that killed at least 95 people and wounded 158 more. Earlier this month, Americans were killed and injured in the Taliban’s 13-hour siege of a hotel in Kabul.

Trump’s remarks marked a shift in tone on Afghanistan. The US has said previously that any peace talks with the Taliban need to be part of an Afghan-led process, but the US has never precluded talking to the Taliban. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson  has previously said that US would support peace talks with the Taliban “without preconditions.”

President Donald trump accompanied by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, and U.S. Ambassafor to the UN Nikki Haley, right, had lunch with the UN Security Council on Monday.

Several attempts to hold peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban have failed. In 2013, hopes were raised when the Taliban opened an office in Qatar aimed at facilitating those talks, but a controversy over the Taliban’s move to hoist the flag it used in Afghanistan during its five-year rule ultimately derailed the talks. Since then, efforts to lure the Taliban into talks have yielded little progress.

Trump last year sent more U.S. troops to Afghanistan and ordered an increase in air strikes and other assistance to Afghan forces. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has said the strategy was working and pushing the insurgents closer to peace talks.

But that was before a Taliban suicide bomber killed more than 100 people and wounded at least 235 in Kabul on Saturday, an attack that followed a Taliban siege of the city’s Intercontinental Hotel and other acts of violence.

“When you see what they’re doing and the atrocities that they’re committing, and killing their own people, and those people are women and children … it is horrible,” Trump said.

 

Afghanistan’s U.N. Ambassador Mahmoud Saikal told Reuters on Monday that fighting needed to continue against certain elements of the Taliban.

“There are two categories of Taliban: one is the reconcilable elements who are in touch with us, who are talking to us, and one is the irreconcilable,” Saikal said.

“The irreconcilables and those who have chosen to fight, we need to fight. We need to fight against them, we need to have the capability to withstand against them and to defend our people,” he said.

Spokesperson for former President Barack Obama took to Twitter to condemn Trump’s idea :

The lunch was attended by representatives from the 15-member U.N. Security Council, including ambassadors to the U.S. from China, France, Russia and Britain. The discussions were expected to also focus on international hotspots such as Iran, North Korea and terrorism.

 

Compiled by : Debolina Biswas