The president of the United States, Donald Trump, said Monday that the United States' peace talks with the Taliban are over and announced that the US military has dramatically increased attacks on insurgents in Afghanistan.
"They are dead. As far as I am concerned, they are dead," Trump said in the White House about the long-term attempt to reach an agreement with the Taliban and remove US troops from the country after 18 years of war.
Explanatory: How Trump brought down the peace negotiations between the United States and the Taliban
The announcement followed Trump's dramatic cancellation of a secret plan to take Taliban leaders to direct talks at the presidential retreat at Camp David over the weekend.
By nailing another nail into the coffin of what appeared to be near-negotiations, Trump said that a US military attack on the guerrillas was now at its fiercest point in a decade.
"In the last four days, we have been hitting our enemy harder than ever in the last ten years!" He said in a tweet.
On Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said "we have killed more than a thousand Taliban in the last 10 days."
Trump denied angry because the whiplash effect of his sudden changes in Afghanistan was causing confusion.
Until this weekend, there had been growing expectations of an agreement that would see the United States reduce troop levels in Afghanistan. In return, the Taliban would offer security guarantees to keep extremist groups away.
But then, on Saturday, Trump revealed that he had canceled an unprecedented meeting between the Taliban and him at Camp David, near Washington. He said this was in retaliation for the murder of a US soldier by the Taliban last week.
The cancellation, announced on Twitter, was the first time that most Americans learned that such a dramatic meeting had even been planned.
Many in Washington were shocked and some were angry that the Taliban had been about to visit the presidential retreat on the eve of the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
There was also widespread dismay in the characteristically unpredictable form of Trump's negotiation style. But Trump denied any discord among government members, including Vice President Mike Pence.
He accused journalists of trying to "create the aspect of agitation in the White House, of which there is none."
“A lot of false news is being reported that I annulled the vice president and several advisors at a possible Camp David meeting with the Taliban. This story is false! I always think it's good to meet and talk, but in this case I decided not to, ”he tweeted.