The Taliban on Sunday said U.S. President Donald Trump's abrupt decision to cancel peace talks in an effort to end the war in Afghanistan would result in fresh losses to American lives.
Hours after Trump unexpectedly canceled a Sunday meeting with Taliban leaders at Camp David, the Islamist group issued a statement saying,
"Both sides were busy with preparation for the announcement and signing the peace deal, but now the U.S president called off the peace dialogue... this will lead to more losses to the U.S."
The Trump administration has been trying to get the insurgent group to join the Afghan government - rather than overthrow it - and bring home American troops from a war that has dragged on for 18 years.
Trump tweeted Saturday that he canceled the secret meeting due to a Taliban attack in Kabul Thursday that killed 12 people, including an American soldier.
But some of his fiercest allies on Sunday strongly questioned why Trump invited the group to Camp David in the first place - and just days ahead of the anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the U.S., which the Taliban supported.
Representative Liz Cheney tweeted, "Camp David is where America's 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."
But on Sunday's Face the Nation, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended the decision.
"Make no mistake, we were very thoughtful. We thought about this a long time. Ultimately the President made the decision that this was the right place."
Also on "Face the Nation": Trump's former defense secretary James Mattis - who as a Marine led U.S. troops into Afghanistan shortly after the 9/11 attacks.
"Did you ever think you'd see the day when the Taliban was invited to Camp David?"
"Well, it was a surprise Margaret, but I would say that all wars eventually come to an end, and I salute efforts to try to end that war. // We've asked them, demanded that they break with al Qaeda, since the Bush administration. They've refused to do so. They murdered 3,000 innocent people, citizens of 91 countries, on 9/11 - we should never forget that. That the Taliban hid those people among them, refused to break with them, and have refused to this day to break."
Trump also tweeted that he scrapped a separate Camp David meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
Trump has long wanted to end U.S. involvement in Afghanistan - since his days as a candidate - as Pompeo explained.
"The 30-plus billion dollars a year that we're spending there is not a sustainable model and he wanted to reduce that."
Pompeo said Afghan peace talks were on hold and that Washington would not withdraw troops from the region until it was convinced the Taliban could commit to ending violence.
Taliban fighters now control more territory than at any time since 2001./agencies