Taliban warns it is ‘way too early’ to speak of resuming talks with the US after President Trump said America was meeting with the militants
- Donald Trump made a surprise visit to US troops in Afghanistan on Thanksgiving
- He spoke out restarting talks with the Taliban, saying group wants a ceasefire
- Taliban downplayed the remark, saying it is ‘way too early’ to speak of fresh talks
- Trump abruptly broke off peace talks with the group following a bombing in Kabul earlier this year which killed a US soldier
The Taliban has cautioned that it is ‘way too early’ to speak about restarting peace talks with the US in Afghanistan.
It comes after Donald Trump told troops that the US was speaking to the terror group again during a surprise visit to the country.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the group’s official spokesman, said in a WhatsApp message: ‘It is way too early to talk about the resumption of talks for now.’
The Taliban has cautioned that it is too early to speak about restarting peace talks in Afghanistan, after Donald Trump made the announcement during his first visit to the country
Trump (pictured in Germany while flying back to the US) said the two sides were talking again, but Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid downplayed his remarks
‘We will give our official reaction later,’ he added.
America and the Taliban were involved in direct peace talks earlier this year in an effort to bring an end to America’s longest-running war.
Trump abruptly broke the negotiations off when a suicide bombing in Kabul killed an American soldier.
The president made his first visit to Afghanistan on Thanksgiving, where he handed out turkey dinners to troops at Bagram air base, north of Kabul.
It was his first visit to the country.
He also met with President Ashraf Ghani, and afterwards announced he has restarted peace negotiations with the Taliban.
‘The Taliban wants to make a deal — we’ll see if they make a deal. If they do they do, and if they don’t they don’t. That’s fine,’ he said.
‘The Taliban wants to make a deal and we’re meeting with them and we’re saying it has s to be a cease fire and they didn’t want to do a cease fire and now they do want to do a cease fire. I believe it’ll probably work out that way,’ he noted.
Trump pledged troops at Bagram air base, north of Kabul, that he is working to bring an end to America’s longest war during a surprise Thanksgiving visit
The president spent the evening handing out Turkey dinners to soldiers who are spending the holiday away from their families
Trump described the soldiers as ‘toughest, strongest, best and bravest warriors on the face of the Earth’ as he paid them a visit
Speaking to troops, he added: ‘There is nowhere that I’d rather celebrate this Thanksgiving than right here with the toughest, strongest, best and bravest warriors on the face of the Earth.’
‘We flew 8331 miles to be here tonight for one simple reason, to tell you in person that this Thanksgiving is a special Thanksgiving,’ Trump said in his remarks. ‘We’re doing so well. Our country is the strongest economically it has ever been.’
He also talked about his campaign promise to end needless wars that he says America is involved in.
‘I want peace more than anybody,’ he said.
The president was also pictured stepping off Air Force One in Germany on his way back to the US overnight.
Trump was seen on the tarmac at Ramstein Air Field as he makes his way back to Mar-A-Lago in Florida, where Melania and Barron were celebrating the holiday.
News of fresh talks comes after the Taliban released Australian national Timothy Weeks (left) and American citizen Kevin King (right, both pictured in Taliban captivity in 2017)
In return for the two captives, Afghanistan freed Anas Haqqani (left), Haji Mali Khan (centre) and Abdul Rashid, all high-ranking members of the group
Trump’s announcement of fresh talks comes after the Taliban released American citizen Kevin King and Australian national Timothy Weeks more than three years after they were abducted in 2016.
Both men, who taught at the American University in Kabul, were flown out of the southern Zabul province by US helicopters this morning.
‘The two professors are safely freed and are being taken care of now,’ an Afghan official said.
King’s family said he was getting medical care from U.S. officials in Afghanistan ahead of his return home.
Stephanie Miller, his sister, said the family was ‘so happy to hear that my brother has been freed and is on his way home to us.’
Their release came hours after the Afghan government freed three Taliban prisoners and sent them to Qatar.
They include Anas Haqqani, who was seized in 2014 and whose older brother is the deputy Taliban leader and head of the Haqqani network, a notorious Taliban affiliate.
The other two Taliban prisoners to be released are Haji Mali Khan and Abdul Rashid, whose brother is based in Qatar.
Afghanistan’s president Ashraf Ghani announced the prisoner swap last week as a precursor to restarting talks.
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