U.S. President Donald Trump used his Twitter account to announce to the world that he has cancelled a secret meeting that was due to take place this weekend at Camp David with Taliban leaders and the president of Afghanistan.
“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 tweeted Saturday night.
He goes on to accuse the Taliban of trying to “build false leverage” by admitting to being behind a recent bombing in Kabul that took the life of American soldier Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz.
The 34-year-old soldier from Puerto Rico was killed in action when an explosive device detonated near his vehicle on Thursday, said the U.S. Department of Defence.
According to The Associated Press, the suicide car bombing killed at least 10 civilians as well as a Romanian service member and left 42 people with injuries.
Ortiz was the fourth U.S. service member killed in the past two weeks in Afghanistan.
“They were coming to the United States tonight. 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,” Trump tweeted.
“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? They didn’t, they only made it worse!”
WATCH: Trump says he canceled peace talks with Taliban over attack
“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?”
The Associated Press reports that Trump has been under pressure from the Afghan government, lawmakers and some members of his administration who mistrust the Taliban and think it’s too early to withdraw American forces. The administration’s diplomat talking to the Taliban leaders for months in recent days said he was on the “threshold” of an agreement with the Taliban aimed at ending America’s longest war.
WATCH: (Aug. 18, 2019) Trump says U.S. has had ‘very good’ talks with Taliban
The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee — Eliot Engel — wrote a letter Thursday to Trump’s peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, saying: “We want to make sure we are negotiating a peace, not simply a withdrawal.”
Thursday’s bombing was one of many attacks by the Taliban in recent days during U.S.-Taliban talks.
WATCH: What a troop withdrawal would look like if the U.S. and Taliban reach an agreement
The Associated Press reports that it remains unclear if the talks between the U.S. and the Taliban are on pause or actually over, and that the Taliban have previously explained that the increase in attacks are necessary for a strong bargaining stance — a viewpoint that has left many dismayed.
Trump’s tweets got a reaction from at least one sitting politician. Congressman Eric Swalwell tweeted at Trump on Saturday: “You brought the Taliban to the United States the week of September 11?”
— With files from The Associated Press
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