Trump criticized for planning secret Camp David meeting with Taliban days before 9/11 anniversary

Christal Hayes, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump is facing backlash after announcing he planned to hold a secret meeting with the Taliban at Camp David this weekend but canceled it over attacks overseas that left 12 dead, including one American.

Republican and Democratic leaders sharply criticized the president over two main concerns: bringing members of the Taliban to the U.S.—specifically to Camp David, a presidential retreat for presidents used for administrations, and the timing of the meeting — just days before the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

The Trump administration and leaders of the Taliban, an extremist Islamic organization that controls about half of Afghanistan, have been in peace talks for months and closing in on a possible deal that would remove about 5,000 American troops from five bases over the next five months if the Taliban fulfills promises to reduce violence and prevent Afghanistan from becoming a haven for terrorists.

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The president revealed plans to host Taliban leaders on Twitter Saturday evening, explaining that it was canceled and all peace talks were off after the group claimed responsibility for a car bomb this week that killed an American and 11 others.

But the news that a meeting was planned drew criticism as skeptics have said the Taliban, itself a militant Islamic group that harbored Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda —which carried out the 9/11 attacks — cannot be trusted. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle vented their frustrations.