Taleban 'overreached' in attack that killed American: Top US diplomat Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo participates in the Dignified Return for Sergeant First Class Elis Barreto Ortiz, who was killed in action in Kabul on Sept 5, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, on Sept 7, 2019.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo participates in the Dignified Return for Sergeant First Class Elis Barreto Ortiz, who was killed in action in Kabul on Sept 5, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, on Sept 7, 2019.PHOTO: AP

WASHINGTON (AP) - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday (Sept 8) that the Taleban "overreached" with their car bomb attack in a diplomatic area near the US Embassy in Kabul, killing an American soldier - and that led President Donald Trump to pull back from planned Afghanistan peace talks at Camp David.

Mr Pompeo said it was now up to the Taleban to "change their behaviour".

America's top diplomat isn't saying whether or when peace talks would resume.

He said he hopes the insurgents "will recommit to the things that we've been talking to them about for months".

In the end, Mr Pompeo said, "This will be resolved through a series of conversations. I hope the Taleban will agree to meet with the Afghan government."

Mr Trump tweeted on Saturday night that he had cancelled a secret meeting, planned for Sunday at the presidential retreat in Maryland, with Taleban and Afghan leaders, and called off talks with the insurgent group. He cited the Thursday attack.

Mr Pompeo, who was booked on five Sunday news shows, said the United States and the Taleban were close to a deal.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1170469618177236992 https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1170469621348098049
 
 
 
 

"And then the Taleban failed to live up to a series of commitments that they had made, and when that happened, President Trump said, 'I'm not going to take that deal. I'm not going to work with someone that can't deliver on their commitments.'"

He said Mr Trump "broke it off", because he did not want to "reward that behaviour", referring to Thursday's attack.

Mr Pompeo acknowledged that the attack was not the first during the period in which peace talks have been held.

He also said the US has been attacking the Taleban throughout this period.

Mr Pompeo said more than 1,000 Taleban have been killed in battle over the past 10 days alone.