Donald Trumps announcement, then immediate cancellation, of his plan to sit down with the Taliban before 9/11 has been met with confused outrage.
Over the weekend, Trump said in a tweet that he was cancelling the meeting, which had thus far been kept a secret, after the Taliban killed a US soldier in a car bomb attack on Thursday.
The ill-fated peace talks, and Trumps reasoning for calling it off, was utterly bizarre – even by Trumps standards.
Trumps top advisers all reportedly opposed his decision to hold the negotiations at Camp David in New York City, which is where President George W Bush gathered with US military leaders in the wake of 9/11.
Even Trumps Republican followers considered the plan disgraceful, although the president claimed reports that his plan was opposed were false.
Republican Representative from Wyoming Liz Cheny, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, said: Camp David is where Americas leaders met to plan our response after al Qaeda, supported by the Taliban, killed 3000 Americans on 9/11.
No member of the Taliban should set foot there. Ever. The Taliban still harbors al Qaeda. The President is right to end the talks.
Another Republican and US Afghanistan Veteran, Representative Adam Kinzinger, said: never should leaders of a terrorist organization that hasnt renounced 9/11 and continues in evil be allowed in our great country. NEVER.
Trumps now-defunct plan also appears to have set back a tentative peace deal the US had been incubating with the Taliban.
US negotiator in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, had already reached a peace deal in principle with the Taliban. After that deal was finalized and announced, the Afghanistan government was reportedly set to begin talks with the Taliban next month.
Trumps reasoning for cancelling his meeting does appear to add up. Since the peace talks began, the Taliban has killed 16 Americans. Over the weekend US Secretary Mike Pompeo said that US forces have killed over 1,000 Taliban soldiers over the past 10 days.
At the beginning of the peace talks, both sides reportedly conceded that the war would continue during negotiations.