US President Donald Trump on Monday ruled out the idea of negotiations with the Taliban, condemning the militant group for a series of recent deadly blasts and pledging to “finish what we have to finish.” Trump’s comments, made as he began meeting at the White House with members of the United Nations Security Council, appeared to dampen prospects for the revival of peace talks with the Taliban. “I don’t see any talking taking place. I don’t think we’re prepared to talk right now. It’s a whole different fight over there. They’re killing people left and right. Innocent people are being killed left and right,” Trump told reporters.
Trump last year sent more U.S. troops to Afghanistan and ordered an increase in air strikes and other assistance to Afghan forces. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has said the strategy was working and pushing the insurgents closer to peace talks.
But that was before a Taliban suicide bomber killed more than 100 people and wounded at least 235 in Kabul on Saturday, an attack that followed a Taliban siege of the city’s Intercontinental Hotel and other acts of violence.
“When you see what they’re doing and the atrocities that they’re committing, and killing their own people, and those people are women and children … it is horrible,” Trump said.
“We don’t want to talk to the Taliban. We’re going to finish what we have to finish, what nobody else has been able to finish, we’re going to be able to do it,” Trump said.
Afghanistan’s U.N. Ambassador Mahmoud Saikal told Reuters on Monday that fighting needed to continue against certain elements of the Taliban.
“There are two categories of Taliban: one is the reconcilable elements who are in touch with us, who are talking to us, and one is the irreconcilable,” Saikal said.
“The irreconcilables and those who have chosen to fight, we need to fight. We need to fight against them, we need to have the capability to withstand against them and to defend our people,” he said.