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Former US defense secretary says trust is key question in Taliban talks

Published: Updated:

Former Defense Secretary James Mattis said on Sunday that when it comes to trying to negotiate an Afghanistan peace deal with the Taliban, the key question is whether they can be trusted.

Mattis cited past US nuclear talks with the Russians, when the American side talked about “trust but verify.”

He told CBS' “Face the Nation” that “I think you want to verify, then trust” in dealing with the Taliban.

Mattis said that the US since the Bush administration, has “demanded that they break with al-Qaeda” but “they’ve refused to do so.” He also said “we should never forget” that they were behind the September 11 attacks.

President Donald Trump had said he was set to meet at Camp David with leaders of the Taliban. But he called it off, as well as a separate one with Afghanistan’s president, after a Taliban bombing that killed an American soldier and 11 other people.