President Trump’s reelection bid obtained a vote of assist Friday from an entity most in his occasion would reject: the Taliban.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid informed CBS Information in a cellphone interview, “We hope he’ll win the election and wind up U.S. army presence in Afghanistan.” The militant group expressed some concern about Mr. Trump’s bout with the coronavirus. “After we heard about Trump being COVID-19 optimistic, we obtained frightened for his well being, however appears he’s getting higher,” one other Taliban senior chief informed CBS Information.
Trump marketing campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh mentioned Saturday that they “reject” the Taliban assist. “The Taliban ought to know that the president will all the time shield American pursuits by any means needed,” Murtaugh mentioned.
The Taliban’s enthusiasm for Mr. Trump is grounded within the objective they share of getting U.S. troops out of Afghanistan after 19 years of conflict – a longtime promise of the president.
There at the moment are fewer than 5,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and nationwide safety adviser Robert O’Brien has mentioned that quantity would drop to 2,500 by early subsequent yr.
The Trump administration signed ain February through which the U.S. and its allies set a timetable for U.S. troops to withdraw by the spring of 2021. The pact requires the Taliban to interrupt from al Qaeda and negotiate a power-sharing take care of Afghan authorities rivals.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated final month, afterand political deputy Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Doha, that the U.S. was set for a full withdrawal from Afghanistan by April or Could of 2021.
The Obama administration was unsuccessful in its makes an attempt to dealer an identical diplomatic deal. Democratic presidential nomineein February that the U.S. ought to draw down but additionally maintain a residual pressure of “a number of thousand folks to verify we’ve a spot from which we are able to function” ought to al Qaeda or ISIS acquire capability to strike the U.S.
This week, President Trump mentioned all troops ought to be “house by Christmas,” though it’s unclear if that’s really anticipated to occur or if he was merely reiterating his place on desirous to convey troops house.
“We must always have the small remaining variety of our BRAVE Males and Ladies serving in Afghanistan house by Christmas,” he tweeted.
That timeline is at odds with the recommendation of U.S. army commanders, who don’t imagine it’s protected to scale back troop ranges beneath 4,500 until the Taliban breaks with al Qaeda and reduces the extent of violence. Additionally it is unclear the way it will have an effect on talks peace between the Afghan authorities and Taliban negotiators in Qatar.
Civilians proceed to be caught up in ongoing violence in Afghanistan, many in Taliban assaults. From January 1 to June 30 this yr, the United Nations Help Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) documented 2,176 civilian accidents and 1,282 civilian deaths as a result of battle.
The Taliban famous it thinks extremely of Mr. Trump’s “America first” creed.
“It’s the slogan of Trump from the beginning that they don’t seem to be cops for the world and do not need a single flag and anthem for the globe, however their precedence is America,” Mujahid mentioned.
One other senior member of the Taliban praised the president’s honesty. “Truthfully, Trump was way more sincere with us than we thought, even we had been surprised together with his provide to satisfy Taliban in Camp David.”
In 2019, President Trump disclosed that he had invited the Taliban for peace talks at Camp David — days earlier than the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist assaults. He mentioned he canceled the plans after the Taliban killed a U.S. soldier.
A senior Taliban member informed CBS Information, “Trump is likely to be ridiculous for the remainder of the world, however he’s sane and clever man for the Taliban.”
Contributing: Margaret Brennan, David Martin, Haley Ott and Nicole Sganga