WASHINGTON – President Trump said Saturday that he had canceled a secret meeting in Camp David with Taliban leaders and the Afghan president and ended monthly talks with the Afghan insurgency group, which appeared to be close to a peace agreement.  "Not known to almost everyone," Mr Trump wrote in a series of tweets Taliban leaders and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani were sent to the United States on Saturday for what would be a historic Sunday meeting in K David.
"If they cannot agree on a ceasefire during these very important peace talks and even kill 12 innocent people, then they probably do not have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway," wrote Mr. Trump. "How many more decades are they ready to fight?"
Mr. Trump's announcement was startling for many reasons. The surprise summit at Camp David with leaders of a rebel group that killed thousands of Americans after the October 2001 invasion of Afghanistan would be a sensational diplomatic gambit, as would Mr Trump's meetings with the once-recycling North Korean leader Kim.
It seems that this move is also difficult – his longstanding hopes of winning a campaign promise to withdraw US troops.
Details of the meeting and the exact timing of its planning and cancellation, as described by Mr. Trump, were unclear on Saturday night. On Friday, the website of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, citing an Afghan official, reported that Mr. Ghani had postponed a scheduled meeting in Washington.
It is also unclear whether Mr Trump is calling for a permanent halt to the peace talks. The president often turns in short order, abruptly canceling his first summit with Mr. Kim before rescheduling her shortly thereafter.
Even more significant than the fate of the meeting is Mr Trump's assertion that he is canceling peace talks that his special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, began last winter. They were driven by Mr Trump's impatience to pull US troops out of an 18-year conflict he called a pointless bundoggle. The United States and foreign officials said negotiations had reached an advanced stage by Saturday evening that the agreement with Pashtun's rebel group, which at one time was under the command of Qaeda Osama bin Laden, was close to you.
In nine rounds of talks, Mr Halilzad worked hard to reach a final peace agreement to be concluded between Taliban and Afghan government officials and civilian leaders.
Mr. Halilzad has promised to withdraw US troops in exchange for a partial ceasefire from the Taliban. In a recent interview with Afghan channel ToloNews he said that 5,400 United States forces would leave Afghanistan within 135 days of the signing of the agreement.
This agreement will only reduce the number of US troops to what it was when Mr Trump took office in 2017.
As for the other 8 600 US forces, Mr Halilzad said in an interview that they will leave after the early rounds of inter-American negotiations are over, but he does not predict when that might happen or be given a deadline to withdraw. Some US officials suggest that this could be up to 16 months, just at the end of Mr Trump's first term, if the Taliban meet certain conditions.
This would allow Mr Trump, who is routinely critical of expensive American interventions in the Muslim world, to claim that he has ended a long conflict that has become unpopular and obscure with the American public, and boasts that he had achieved the result that his predecessor, President Barack Obama, sought in vain.
The reality could be more complicated. Mr Trump has hinted that the United States will retain "strong intelligence" in the country, a language some experts believe describes plans for a stable presence of an armed C.I.A. operative workers. And even if an initial deal with the Taliban is reached, its implementation can face many pitfalls.
Critics of the nascent agreement – including former US commander-in-chief in Afghanistan, Army General David Petraeus – warned that it could lead to the return of al-Qaeda, which uses its safe haven to Afghanistan, to chart the attacks of 11 2001, triggering the American invasion and occupation of the country. Some cite the example of the withdrawal of Obama's troops from Iraq, which allowed the emergence of an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
These critics cited the continued high rate of attacks by the Taliban as a sign that the theocratic rebel group could not end the violence. The bombing quoted by the president includes a car bomb detonated Thursday at a checkpoint near the US Embassy in Kabul. 12 people have been killed, including one American soldier.
Afghan government officials informed of the talks privately, Mr. Halilzad has not forced enough concessions from the Taliban to ensure stability as the US military leaves Afghanistan.  An official stated that the agreement between Mr Khalilzad and the Taliban would not secure a national election on September 28, as Mr Ghani requested. Instead of demanding a national ceasefire, he calls for a reduction in violence in Kabul and Parwan. And, the Afghan government official said, this could allow the Taliban to continue treating themselves in official behavior as an Islamic emirate – as it did when the extremist group ruled Afghanistan with fear.
If anything else, said an Afghan official, it seems that the talks have only strengthened the Taliban. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss more open-door briefings.
"They are much lighter and have a chance to take it over," an Afghan official said Wednesday.