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Trump: US will no longer talk to Taliban after attacks

The US president railed against 'atrocities' the group had carried out in Afghanistan.

At least 17 people were killed and 110 others injured after a suicide car bomb blast rocked near Sidarat Square in central Kabul on Saturday.
At least 17 people were killed and 110 others injured after a suicide car bomb blast rocked near Sidarat Square in central Kabul on Saturday. PA

Donald Trump has sad he will no longer talk to the Taliban after a string of deadly attacks in Afghanistan.

Speaking to visiting members of the UN Security Council, the president railed against the "atrocities," adding that Washington would not engage in future talks with the group, despite the administration seeking to end a 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," he 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."

Trump's comments follow a deadly car bombing attack in Kabul that killed at least 95 people and wounded 158 more. Earlier this month, Americans were among those killed and injured in the Taliban's 13-hour siege of a hotel in Kabul.

Trump: "Innocent people are being killed left and right."
Trump: "Innocent people are being killed left and right." PA

Trump's remarks are 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, who sat next to the president at the luncheon, has said previously that after an effective military effort, a political settlement including some Taliban might be possible, echoing language from former President Barack Obama's administration. Tillerson had said the US would support peace talks with the Taliban "without preconditions."

Earlier in the month, 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."

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.

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