Trump breaks off peace talks with the Taliban

US President Trump cancelled Afghanistan peace talks with the Taliban in a surprise move on the weekend, citing an attack in which a US soldier was killed. Trump said he had also called off a secret meeting with the Taliban and the Afghan president planned for Sunday. Commentators discuss the new situation.

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Corriere della Sera (IT) /

The latest episode in Trump's reality show

US correspondent Massimo Gaggi voices his disappointment in Corriere della Sera:

“A spectacular announcement could have been made yesterday: a peace deal between the Americans and the Taliban. The world would have been left gaping with surprise. ... But in the last minute it all went wrong. The government in Kabul, which was excluded from the negotiations and had feared it would be pushed to the sidelines through the legitimation of the rebels, was delighted. But the Taliban are angry and threatening to make the US pay dearly for this change of tack, which they see as unjustified. Meanwhile people in America have the feeling that Trump has once again, as in the confrontation with Kim Jong-un, confused complex diplomatic negotiations with a reality show.”

Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

No peace possible with the Taliban

Trump's return to reason comes very late, laments Der Tagesspiegel:

“From the beginning it should have been clear to him that you can't make lasting deals with the militant Islamists. Certainly not on the basis of good faith alone. ... Back in 1989 when the exhausted Soviet army withdrew from Afghanistan, the bearded militants made all kinds of guarantees but failed to adhere to them. The Taliban always negotiate pro forma if they think this will bring them a strategic advantage in the short term. But otherwise only the fight against the 'infidels' based on violence and expansion determines their actions. When they speak of 'peace' what they really mean is a reign of terror and oppression.”

Malta Today (MT) /

US withdrawal would be dangerous

The government in Kabul doesn't stand a chance of stopping the rise of the Taliban without support from the West, Malta Today warns:

“There have been arguments that say that the Taliban may well strike a power sharing deal with the current government in Kabul. This does not appear to be likely, given that the Taliban have proven that they can hold their own on the battlefield against an opponent that has considerable Western support, both logistical and access to heavy fire support. Without the backing of the West, the Taliban may reasonably expect to fare even better, capturing more territory before the fighting season ends in early winter, whilst positioning themselves for a spring offensive in early 2020.”