The Taliban has asked President Donald Trump to withdraw US forces from the “quagmire” of Afghanistan, saying that nothing has been achieved in 15 years of war except bloodshed and destruction.
“So, the responsibility to bring to an end this war also rests on your shoulders,” Taliban said.
In an open letter to the new US president published on one of its official web pages, confirmed by SITE Intelligence Group on January 23, the insurgent movement said the United States had lost credibility after spending a trillion dollars on a unproductive war.
“So, the responsibility to bring to an end this war also rests on your shoulders,” it said.
So far, the Trump administration has said had little about Afghanistan, where some 8,400 US troops remain as part of the NATO-led coalition’s training mission to support local forces as well as a separate US counter-terrorism mission. But has in general promised ‘we are always happy when old enemies become friends, and when old friends become allies.’
Afghanistan, which the US invaded on October 7, 2001 in a bid to topple Al-Qaeda and Osama bin laden that were at the time hosted by the Taliban. For the United States this has become its longest military intervention since Vietnam. Costing them more than $100 billion.
we are always happy when old enemies become friends, and when old friends become allies. President Trump
Two of Trump’s top security appointments – retired Marine Corps General James Mattis as Secretary of Defense and former General Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser – both have extensive experience in Afghanistan.
The Taliban, however, warned Trump against relying on the kind of “unrealistic” reports presented to former presidents by their generals.
“They would emphasize continuation of war and occupation of Afghanistan because they can have better positions and privileges in war,” the Taliban statement read.
It accused Washington of imposing a “surrogate administration” on Afghanistan in the face of popular Muslim resistance. This has been the accusation faced by Hamid Karzai who was brought in as Afghanistan’s President in 2001 after the Bonn agreement, and Ashraf Ghani, the ex-World Banker, who is leading the national unity government after Kerry’s intervention in 2014.
“You have to realise that the Afghan Muslim nation has risen up against foreign occupation,” it said.
The Taliban has made steady gains against the Western-backed government in Kabul since coalition forces ended their mission in 2014, and the USA reduced its forces. Government forces are now in control of less than two thirds of the country.
The Taliban has repeatedly urged the United States and its allies to leave Afghanistan, ruling out peace talks with the Kabul government while foreign forces remain on Afghan soil. This one pre-conditions for sitting down for the peace talks with the government.
Pakistan’s General Qamar is also due to go to Afghanistan and meet Pesident Ashraf Ghani but sources state he is waiting to hear what Trump’s policy on Afghanistan will be before going.
Trump during his campaign trail has criticised past US administrations for their handling of conflicts in the Muslim world, but he in his inauguration speech has also pledged to eradicate ‘radical Islamists from the earth’.