Taliban tells Trump: It’s time to leave Afghanistan
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Taliban tells Trump: It’s time to leave Afghanistan

Spokesman warns US president in letter that group will keep targeting American forces as long as they remain in country

A US soldier on patrol in Afghanistan (photo credit: Senior Airman Grovert Fuentes-Contreras/US Air Force/File)
A US soldier on patrol in Afghanistan (photo credit: Senior Airman Grovert Fuentes-Contreras/US Air Force/File)

In a long, rambling letter, the spokesman for the Taliban told US President Donald Trump that it’s time to leave Afghanistan.

The letter, emailed to journalists Wednesday, was written on behalf of the so-called Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s spokesman, warned Trump that peace will be elusive as long as foreign troops are on Afghan soil.

He added that independence from foreign dominance is “the only asset” that an impoverished nation like Afghanistan truly has.

Written in English, as well as Afghanistan’s two prominent languages Dari and Pashto, the four-page letter waxed on about Afghanistan’s history, its numerous defeats of invading armies and the reported corruption widespread in Afghanistan today.

In a separate article published Sunday, which the SITE Intelligence Group said appeared on the Taliban’s website and social media, the group described the freshly inaugurated leader of the free world as “an enigma both to the Americans and the billions of people around the world.”

Afghan security personnel fire at Taliban insurgents during an anti-Taliban operation in Dur Baba district near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in the eastern Nangarhar province on September 25, 2014 (Photo credit: Noorullah Shirzada/AFP)
Afghan security personnel fire at Taliban insurgents during an anti-Taliban operation in Dur Baba district near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in the eastern Nangarhar province on September 25, 2014 (Photo credit: Noorullah Shirzada/AFP)

The article said that Afghans hoped Trump and his cabinet would not follow in the footsteps of previous White House administrations.

Afghanistan, which the US invaded on October 7, 2001, in response to the 9/11 attacks in a bid to topple the Taliban for hosting al-Qaeda, has become Washington’s longest military intervention since Vietnam.

It has also been the most costly, with over $100 billion spent since 2001.

But the country remains wracked by insecurity as the resurgent Taliban dealt Afghan forces serious blows in 2015, the first year they led security operations in Afghanistan, taking over from NATO.

“Even though America has never waged a war so long and passionately intense in its entire history but if she insists on continuing her failed arrogant policies, one can foresee that she will ruin herself beyond repair due to a historically shameful defeat,” the article said.

Trump has yet to make an official pronouncement about US policy in Afghanistan, but the Taliban threat forced his predecessor Barack Obama to slow plans for a drawdown in US troop numbers.

Some 8,400 will remain in the war-torn country this year, compared with 5,500 initially planned.

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