For 9/11 families, mixed views on Trump-Taliban talks

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A powerful explosion occured near US embassy in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, early Wednesday morning, according to multiple sources.

Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani, right, and US special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, left, meet in Kabul, Nov. 10, 2018.

An embassy employee reached by phone confirmed the explosion but had no details. Perhaps it was because the US President baulked at the optics of having the Taliban over on the 9/11 anniversary, or had second thoughts about giving the go-ahead to an agreement which his Secretary of State had reportedly refused to put his signature on. The NATO mission, which is nearby, also said no personnel had been injured.

Yamamoto spoke three days after President Donald Trump abruptly halted U.S. -Taliban talks, citing an upsurge in attacks by the Islamic insurgent group.

"I'm all for some kind of negotiated peace to bring our guys and gals back home, but it has to be the correct type of peace where the Taliban and al-Qaida are told point-blank ... any violation at all will be dealt with swiftly and with a lot of strength", said Ielpi, a National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum board member.

"We had two ways to end occupation in Afghanistan, one was jihad and fighting, the other was talks and negotiations", Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.

Last week, Kabul was the scene of two attacks claimed by the Taliban that killed more than two dozen people.

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"If Trump wants to stop talks, we will take the first way and they will soon regret it".

The 9/11 anniversary is a sensitive day in Afghanistan's capital and one on which attacks have occurred. A USA -led invasion of Afghanistan shortly after the 2001 attack toppled the Taliban, who had harbored Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader and attacks mastermind. In exchange, the Taliban would have had to agree not to allow Afghanistan to be a safe haven for terrorist groups which threaten the security of the U.S.

In the almost 18 years of fighting since then, the number of USA troops in Afghanistan soared to 100,000 and dropped dramatically after bin Laden was killed in neighbouring Pakistan in 2011.

It is widely thought that Trump has been pushing for a withdrawal of U.S. troops in time for his 2020 reelection bid.

During a visit to Afghanistan on September 9, U.S. Marine General Kenneth McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, indicated to reporters that the United States was likely to increase operations against the Taliban.

Judd hopes the Afghan government - which has been largely sidelined from the negotiations - and civilians will have a role in a broader peace process that would produce a durable cease-fire.

Trump has made no secret of his desire to pull USA troops out of Afghanistan. "Afghans have been bitten by this snake before", added his advisor Waheed Omer.

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