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Condoleezza Rice ‘relieved’ US canceled talks with Taliban

1st & Future event at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA on February 6, 2016. (Max Morse/Wikimedia Commons)
September 12, 2019

Former Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice said on Tuesday that she was “relieved” that the United States walked away from talks with the Taliban.

Rice offered her remarks to CBS News Tuesday after President Donald Trump canceled secret peace talks with Taliban and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at Camp David this last weekend.

“I’m relieved that we walked away from these talks,” Rice said in an interview on “CBS This Morning,” adding that there were some “bad tell-tale signs” that the Taliban wouldn’t negotiate seriously with the United States. She also noted that she would have “chosen a different venue” other than Camp David.

The spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Sediq Sediqqi, confirmed the communications between the White House and the Afghan government, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported, saying that “there were communications in the past few days of a possible trip to the United States so that the Afghan president can share and discuss the people’s concern about a possible [U.S.-Taliban] deal that was on the brink to be signed.”

“We strongly believe that the decision that was taken by President Trump is a genuine reflection of the concerns not only the Afghan people have in regard to a flawed deal, or a deal that will only give elevation — or leverage — to a group that is heavily involved in violence,” Sediqqi added.

Trump said he canceled the peace talks on Monday after the Taliban carried out a car bombing in Kabul that killed a U.S. soldier and at least 10 Afghan civilians and reportedly wounded 42 more.

“They’re dead. As far as I’m concerned, they’re dead,” Trump said of the planned talks, confirming what he wrote on Twitter Saturday evening.

“Unbeknownst to almost everyone, the major Taliban leaders and, separately, the President of Afghanistan, were going to secretly meet with me at Camp David on Sunday,” Trump wrote in a series of tweets, adding that the representatives were scheduled to meet that Saturday night.

“Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, they admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great great soldiers, and 11 other people. I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations. What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position?” He added.

“They didn’t, they only made it worse! If they cannot agree to a ceasefire during these very important peace talks, and would even kill 12 innocent people, then they probably don’t have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway. How many more decades are they willing to fight?”

Part of Trump’s 2016 platform was to end wars in the Middle East.

“Yeah, we’d like to get out, but we’ll get out of the right time,” Trump said in remarks before boarding Marine One on Monday.

In the interview, Rice defended the nearly two-decade-long war in Afghanistan, the longest in U.S. history, saying  “Americans are tired” of the responsibilities of the war but “there’s no one but the United States,” to continue carrying those responsibilities.

“Remember the patience that helped us to create stability in Europe, that helped us to create stability in Asia,” Rice said.