Published: Thu, September 12, 2019

United Nations envoy says it’s ‘imperative’ to start Afghan-Taliban talks

United Nations envoy says it’s ‘imperative’ to start Afghan-Taliban talks

The massive air campaign initially targeted troops, training camps and air defenses of the Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan under a harsh version of Islamic law from 1996 and hosted Osama bin Laden as he masterminded the September 11 attacks.

A huge rocket blast was reported near the USA embassy in Afghanistan early Wednesday local time - just minutes into the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, officials said.

In turn, the Taliban vowed to continue fighting against American forces in Afghanistan after the USA president withdrew from peace talks.

No injuries were reported an hour after the blast, according to the AP.

"If they can not 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", the U.S. president said in one of his tweets.

Trump said Saturday he meant to hold a secret meeting with Taliban representatives at Camp David, but called it off due to the Taliban's role in a deadly bombing in Kabul last week that killed a USA soldier.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Tuesday that the timing of President Trump's proposed talks with the Taliban at Camp David was "not ideal".

The number of US troops peaked at around 100,000 but began to drop steadily after Bin Laden was killed in 2011.

Mr Trump has said he wants to withdraw around 5,000 of the 14,000 USA military personnel still in the country.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Al Jazeera the USA would suffer the consequences of axing the talks.

Many fear his cancellation of negotiations will bring more carnage as the US and Taliban, as well as Afghan forces, step up their offensives and everyday people die in the crossfire. However Khalilzad said final approval still rested with Trump. "One was jihad and fighting, the other was talks and negotiations", he said. "He said, 'I want to talk to (President) Ashraf Ghani". "As far as I'm concerned they're dead". Almost 3,000 people were killed in the largest attack on American soil.

"I went down to ground zero with men who worked for me to try to help in any little way that we could", Trump said. Fifty-nine percent of all adults said the war in Afghanistan was not worth fighting, given the costs to the United States versus the benefits, while 36% said it was.

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