CBS late-night host Stephen Colbert went after President Donald Trump after he cancelled a planned meeting with Taliban officials over the weekend.
Colbert opened his show on Monday night by reading a pair of tweets from Trump, in which the president announced the meeting at Camp David that ultimately did not happen.
“Unbeknownst to almost everyone, the major Taliban leaders and, separately, the President of Afghanistan, were going to secretly meet with me at Camp David on Sunday. They were coming to the United States tonight. Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, they admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great great soldiers, and 11 other people. I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations,” President Trump said on Saturday.
“If they cannot agree to a ceasefire during these very important peace talks, and would even kill 12 innocent people, then they probably don’t have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway,” Trump added.
The president was reportedly pursuing a landmark peace deal with the Taliban that would build on the conditions-based strategy his administration announced two years ago. Washington sought a deal that would allow the U.S. military to maintain a residual presence in Afghanistan that would have dwindled over time in exchange for “political reconciliation” between the Taliban and the Afghan government. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani recently revealed the peace deal would allow Taliban jihadis to legally run for office in the country, including for the presidency of Afghanistan.
The Taliban considers itself the only legitimate government of Afghanistan and rejected the notion of having to hold talks with Ghani’s administration.
Colbert used the fiasco to attack Trump.
“Yes, Donald Trump invited the Taliban to Camp David the weekend before 9/11. There’s nothing that’s like that. That is only that. Nothing else is like that,” Colbert said. ““Does Donald Trump not know what 9/11 is?”
President Trump told reporters Sunday that he wants to move toward bringing an end to the U.S.’s ongoing engagement in Afghanistan. “We’ve been policemen there for a long time, and the government’s going to have to take responsibility.”