We hope Trump will win election and withdraw US troops from Afghanistan, say Taliban
United States President Donald Trump received an unusual endorsement from the Afghan Taliban for his re-election bid, CBS News reported.
In a telephonic interview, Taliban Spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said: “We hope he will win the election and wind up US military presence in Afghanistan.”
The Taliban group also expressed concern about Trump’s health conditions after he contracted the coronavirus. “When we heard about Trump being COVID-19 positive, we got worried for his health, but seems he is getting better,” another Taliban senior leader told CBS News.
However, the US President’s campaign rejected the Taliban’s support. In a statement, Trump’s election campaign communication director Tim Murtaugh stated that it rejects the Taliban’s support and that they should know President Trump will always protect American interests by any means necessary.
The comments from Taliban side comes days after Donald Trump announced he wants to bring all US troops home from Afghanistan by Christmas. Trump’s plan not only came as a surprise to US administration officials but also for head of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah.
He said a “premature” withdrawal of US troops would have negative consequences for the war-torn country. “It will take a little bit [of] time for us to digest it,” Abdullah said. “It will happen one day, of course, and Afghanistan should be able to stand on its own feet, but if it is premature, it will have its consequences.”
There are now fewer than 5,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and national security adviser Robert O’Brien has said that number would drop to 2,500 by early next year.
A deal was struck between the United States and the Taliban in February in which it was agreed that 5,000 Taliban prisoners will be released from Afghan prisons before peace talks between the militant group and the government.
Later, a Loya Jirga stated that intra-Afghan peace talks should begin immediately. It said that foreign prisoners, if any, should be handed over to their respective nations after receiving credible guarantees from their governments.
The jirga also decided that the freed prisoners should not return to the battlefield while permanent ceasefire should be imposed.
On August 10, Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani issued a decree to release the final batch of prisoners demanded by the Taliban as a condition to move to peace talks.
Later, the Afghan government released the remaining Taliban prisoners, kicking of intra-Afghan peace talks.