\r\nDonald Trump announced in three short Twitter posts that he had canceled a secret meeting that was to be held at Camp David on Sunday between his administration and senior Taliban leaders. This move could potentially upend over a year of difficult negotiations in a bid to end America\u2019s longest war. \r\nA secret meeting with Taliban leaders\r\nThe move was shocking, not just for Trump\u2019s abrupt cancellation of the meeting, but the idea of Taliban leaders being invited to the president\u2019s retreat just days before the anniversary of the September 11th attacks \u2013 the event that launched the US into the Afghan conflict. The United States has been embroiled in conflict in Afghanistan against Taliban insurgents for the last 18 years. \r\nA Camp David summit with Taliban leaders would be nothing short of the type of international spectacle that Donald Trump has already shown a penchant for \u2013 similar to his high-profile talks with the reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.\r\nThe meeting had been arranged before a Taliban suicide-bomber killed an American soldier and 11 civilians in an attack in the Afghan capital of Kabul on September 5th. President Trump cited this attack as his motivation for canceling the planned meeting tweeting, \u201cWhat kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position?\u201d \r\n\u201cIf they cannot agree to a ceasefire during these very important peace talks, and would even kill 12 innocent people, then they probably don\u2019t have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway,\u201d he added.\r\nThe deal to end American engagement in Afghanistan\r\nNews of the abandoned Camp David meeting with Taliban leaders comes after the Trump administration\u2019s senior negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad, announced that the government had reached a preliminary deal \u2018in principle\u2019 with the insurgents after nine agonizing rounds of negotiations that would result in the slow withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. \r\nAccording to Khalilzad, the agreement would see American troops in the area reduced over the next year or more, with 5,400 of the 14,000 troops currently in Afghanistan leaving within the next four and a half months. \r\nThe agreement had been met with rising criticism as it was not clear what concessions would be made by the Taliban in return for the withdrawal of American troops. Reportedly, the deal included vague promises by the Taliban to not to shelter foreign militants and terrorists such as al-Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan and to reduce violence in the vicinity of American military bases. Details of the agreement dashed hopes that there would be a ceasefire and offered little protection to Afghan forces which have suffered greatly under the conflict.\r\nThe abandonment of the deal is likely met with relief from Afghanistan\u2019s President Ashraf Ghani, who was sidelined during US negotiations and voiced his concerns over the deal. He is now able to concentrate on the country\u2019s upcoming presidential elections. Elections which the Taliban had hoped would be called off.\r\nA harsh reality unchanged\r\nAn attempt to use these negotiations as leverage with the Taliban is likely to backfire as they already lack trust in American government and institutions. In response to Trump\u2019s move, the Taliban has threatened a surge in violence stating that Trump\u2019s about-face would \u201clead to more losses to the US\u201d.\r\nFor Trump, who has often spoken boastfully about America\u2019s power, ending the bloody conflict would fulfill a campaign promise to disengage the United States from the seemingly endless war. Trump\u2019s own team has been divided on foreign policy regarding Afghanistan \u2013 with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pushing for negotiations to end the conflict and National Security Advisor John R. Bolton warning the president that a deal with the Taliban would be akin to \u2018getting in bed with killers swathed in American blood.\u2019\r\nAfghanistan is bracing for an escalation in violence as both sides attempt to show they are unfazed by the breakdown of talks between the US and Taliban leaders. What is even more troubling is that even after the dust of Trump\u2019s tweets settles, the reality on the ground remains unchanged \u2013 the suicide bombings and attacks on civilians are likely to continue, Afghan troops will endure more losses, the Taliban will continue to gain ground and American troops are still far from achieving lasting peace in the region.