Tuesday, 20 August, 2019

Taliban warn Trump against troop increase in open letter

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters at Trump's golf estate in Bedminster New Jersey U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters at Trump's golf estate in Bedminster New Jersey
Christy Curtis | 16 August, 2017, 06:01

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, penned a lengthy letter that he then disbursed to journalists, asking President Trump to withdraw from the 16-year war in Afghanistan was made public this week.

"Previous experiences have shown that sending more troops to Afghanistan will not result in anything other than further destruction of American military and economical might", the Taliban said in the lengthy English-language letter.

In June, U.S. President Donald Trump had authorised the Pentagon to take decisions regarding troop levels in Afghanistan.

The Taliban encouraged the president to use an "open heart" to understand "if you failed to win the Afghan war with professional US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops, advanced technology, experienced military Generals, consecutive strategies and mighty economy, you shall never be able to win it with mercenaries, notorious contractor firms and immoral stooges".

American military commanders in Afghanistan have requested thousands of extra boots on the ground to help combat a resurgent Taliban.

The letter comes a day after US Defence Secretary James Mattis said the Trump administration was considering all options on Afghanistan.

"It is entirely possible that you are being provided rosy pictures about Afghanistan by the stooges you have installed", it said.

The letter implied that if the United States does not leave the Middle East, the Afghan Muslim nation would be forced to align itself with America's enemies "in order to gain their independence and free themselves from your oppression", which the Taliban considers to be a "grave mistake" on our part.

"Everyone now understands that the main driver of war in Afghanistan is foreign occupation", the letter reads. Trump has so far resisted the Pentagon's recommendations.

NBC News this month said Trump had told Mattis and General Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, they should replace General John Nicholson, who heads up United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces in Afghanistan.

"We are very, very close on this, and the president, as I told you before, has delegated a fair amount of tactical and operational decision making to me", noted Mattis.

"He is our commander in the field", Mattis said. "He has the confidence of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, he has the confidence of Afghanistan, he has the confidence of the United States", Mattis told Pentagon reporters. When asked if he personally backed Nicholson staying in the job, Mattis said: "Of course". The group demanded that USA forces leave the country altogether after 16 years of bloody conflict instead of increasing the number of troops.

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