Afghan National Army soldiers stand guard at a check point in Kabul, Afghanistan on Tuesday. Omar Sobhani/Reuters
The Taliban on Tuesday vowed to continue fighting against US forces in Afghanistan after President Donald Trump said talks with insurgents were “dead,” saying Washington would regret abandoning negotiations.
“We had two ways to end occupation in Afghanistan, one was jihad and fighting, the other was talks and negotiations,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP.
“If Trump wants to stop talks, we will take the first way and they will soon regret it.”
The Taliban's statement came hours after Trump told reporters that the US was walking away from negotiations after nearly a year of talks that aimed to pave the way for an American withdrawal from Afghanistan following 18 years of war.
“They are dead. As far as I am concerned, they are dead,” Trump said at the White House.
The announcement followed Trump's dramatic cancellation of a top-secret plan to fly Taliban leaders in for direct talks at the Camp David presidential facility outside Washington.
Driving another nail into the coffin of what had appeared to be nearly finalised negotiations, Trump said a US military onslaught on the guerrillas was at its fiercest level in a decade.
“Over the last four days, we have been hitting our Enemy harder than at any time in the last ten years!” he wrote in a tweet.Agence France-Presse
Ghani said the message of the five-day gathering was clear: “Afghans want peace” and offered a ceasefire, though he stressed it would not be unilateral. In the statement on Friday, the Taliban rejected a ceasefire, saying attacks will continue during Ramadan but said “fighters are very careful of civilians during any operation.”
A fresh round of talks between the US and the Taliban is to begin in Qatar, just days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington is hoping for an Afghan peace agreement before Sept.1.
Observers believe that the nearly 18-year conflict will be the major focus of talks between Khan and President Donald Trump when they meet on July 22.
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