With Meghna Chakrabarti
This weekend, President Trump canceled secret meetings at Camp David with the Taliban and Afghan leaders. We get the latest.
From The Reading List
Washington Post: "Collapse of Afghanistan peace talks spotlights internal Trump administration divisions" — "Plans for U.S. troop withdrawals from Afghanistan, in keeping with President Trump’s pledge to end the war there, were thrown into confusion Sunday, following Trump’s decision to call off a secret meeting he planned with Afghan and Taliban leaders to secure a peace deal.
"Competing versions of what led to the cancellation of the meeting and, at least temporarily, any further U.S.-Taliban negotiations, exposed internal administration tensions that have flared as a deal seemed near in recent weeks.
"Those tensions have pitted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whose chief negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad, said a week ago that agreement 'in principle' had been reached after 10 months of talks with the militants, and Trump national security adviser John Bolton, who opposed the talks."
New York Times: "How Trump’s Plan to Secretly Meet With the Taliban Came Together, and Fell Apart" — "On the Friday before Labor Day, President Trump gathered top advisers in the Situation Room to consider what could be among the profound decisions of his presidency — a peace plan with the Taliban after 18 years of grinding, bloody war in Afghanistan.
"The meeting brought to a head a bristling conflict dividing his foreign policy team for months, pitting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo against John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, in a battle for the competing instincts of a president who relishes tough talk but promised to wind down America’s endless wars.
"As they discussed terms of the agreement, Mr. Pompeo and his negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad, made the case that it would enable Mr. Trump to begin withdrawing troops while securing a commitment from the Taliban not to shelter terrorists. Mr. Bolton, beaming in by video from Warsaw, where he was visiting, argued that Mr. Trump could keep his campaign pledge to draw down forces without getting in bed with killers swathed in American blood.
"Mr. Trump made no decision on the spot, but at some point during the meeting the idea was floated to finalize the negotiations in Washington, a prospect that appealed to the president’s penchant for dramatic spectacle. Mr. Trump suggested that he would even invite President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan, whose government has not been party to the talks, and get him to sign on."
USA Today: "Trump criticized for planning secret Camp David meeting with Taliban days before 9/11 anniversary" — "President Donald Trump is facing backlash after announcing he planned to hold a secret meeting with the Taliban at Camp David this weekend but canceled it over attacks overseas that left 12 dead, including one American.
"Republican and Democratic leaders sharply criticized the president over two main concerns: bringing members of the Taliban to the U.S.—specifically to Camp David, a presidential retreat for presidents used for administrations, and the timing of the meeting — just days before the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
"The Trump administration and leaders of the Taliban, an extremist Islamic organization that controls about half of Afghanistan, have been in peace talks for months and closing in on a possible deal that would remove about 5,000 American troops from five bases over the next five months if the Taliban fulfills promises to reduce violence and prevent Afghanistan from becoming a haven for terrorists."
Reuters: "More Americans will die after Trump abruptly ends Afghan talks, Taliban say" — "President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel Afghan peace talks will cost more American lives, the Taliban said on Sunday while the United States promised to keep up military pressure on the militants, in a stunning reversal of efforts to forge a deal ending nearly 20 years of war in Afghanistan.
"The Islamist group issued a statement after Trump unexpectedly canceled secret talks planned for Sunday with the Taliban’s major leaders at the presidential compound in Camp David, Maryland. He broke off the talks on Saturday after the Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack in Kabul last week that killed an American soldier and 11 others.
"Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, criticized Trump for calling off the dialogue and said U.S. forces have been pounding Afghanistan with attacks at the same time."
Stefano Kotsonis produced this segment for broadcast.
This segment aired on September 9, 2019.