Trump changes tone, says no more talks with Taliban

After a series of deadly attacks in Afghanistan, President Donald Trump has said the US would not negotiate with the Taliban, dampening the prospect of a revival of peace talks.

Trump told visiting members of the UN Security Council on Monday that his administration wanted to end the stalemate in America’s longest war.

“Innocent people are being killed left and right. Bombing, in the middle of children, in the middle of families, bombing, killing all over Afghanistan,” Trump said. “So we don’t want to talk with the Taliban. There may be a time but it’s going to be a long time,” media reports quoted him as saying.

His comments followed a suicide bombing in Kabul which killed at least 103 people and wounded more than 200. This came days after an attack on the Intercontinental Hotel that claimed the lives of an estimated 43 people.

Early on Monday, Daesh insurgents targeted a military academy in Kabul and killed 11 military personnel. The New York Times reported Trump’s remarks at the diplomatic luncheon marked a shift in tone on Afghanistan. 

The newspaper reported earlier in the month that UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, who helped organise Monday’s luncheon, said the US policy on Afghanistan was working and the parties were “closer to talks with the Taliban and the peace process than we’ve seen before.”

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said the Taliban must choose between Islam and terrorism. “Taliban must choose between Islam and terrorism, between humanity and barbarism,” Ghani said on Monday.

He also urged other nations to act against what he described as state sponsorship of terrorism.  “We appreciate the sympathies extended by our international partner nations. Thank you for standing with us. It is also an infliction point for our partners. Afghans expect our partners to condemn and take all possible action against state-sponsor of terrorism,” Ghani said. 

At least 27 anti-government militants were killed during joint military operations in southern Ghazni province on Tuesday. Mohammad Aref Noori, spokesman of Ghazni governor told Bakhtar news agency around 27 anti-government militias were killed during joint military operations and conflicts in relevant areas of Qara Bagh district and Ghazni city.

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