President Donald Trump on Friday said the Taliban could “possibly” overrun the Afghan government after the United States withdraws from the country, leaving the US-backed authorities to fend for themselves.
“Countries have to take care of themselves,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “You can only hold someone’s hand for so long.”
Asked if the Taliban could eventually seize power, Trump said it’s “not supposed to happen that way but it possibly will.”
— Hammad Khan (@samandar_com) March 7, 2020
“We can’t be there for the next 20 years. We’ve been there for 20 years and we’ve been protecting the country but we can’t be there for the next — eventually they’re going to have to protect themselves,” he said.
Trump said the Afghan government’s ability to defend itself from the guerrillas after US forces pull out was unknown.
“I don’t know. I can’t answer that question,” he said. “We’ll have to see what happens.”
Islamic State group claims deadly Afghanistan attack
The Islamic State jihadist group has claimed responsibility for a gun assault on a political rally in the Afghan capital Friday that killed 29 people and wounded 61.
“Two brothers… targeted a gathering of apostates… in Kabul city with machine guns, hand grenades and rocket-propelled grenades,” it said in a statement via the Telegram messaging app.
At least 27 people were killed in Kabul on Friday after a volley of gunfire rang out at a ceremony attended by top Afghan government officials, an official confirmed.
Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, High Peace Council chairman Abdul Karim Khalili, former Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani and a number of other figures fled the site in the capital Kabul, a spokesman of the chief executive told Anadolu Agency.
Abdullah escaped the assault unhurt, spokesman Omaid Maisam said.
News Desk with inputs from AFP