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Trump’s ‘war’ remarks draw rebuke; Kabul demands Washington’s explanation

KABUL: Authorities in Kabul are castigating U.S. President Donald Trump’s remarks about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the country’s war as they on Thursday demanded Washington to provide explanation.

President Donald Trump at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday said that Russia and Pakistan should be fighting the war in Afghanistan, not the United States.

The Afghan presidential palace said it had asked the United States to provide clarification regarding the statements, through diplomatic channels about certain policies. “Afghan defense and security forces continue to deal with heavy sacrifices in the battlefield, for the sake of international peace and security, particularly security of the friendly nations.”

“Our relations with the world are outlined on the basis of common interest and the international forces in Afghanistan are present in Afghanistan, not only for Afghanistan, but for the sake of security of the world and friendly countries too,” read the statement.

About the Soviet invasion, it said that the Afghan people started their sacred Jihad after the occupation for the sake of their liberty and freedom. “There was a consensus in the world about the Jihad of the people of Afghanistan against the invasion of the country by the Soviet Union, and the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the aggression by the former Soviet Union.”

In his comments during the 95-minute cabinet meeting at the White House, Trump defended his push for the United States to invest less overseas and said: “So you take a look at other countries – Pakistan is there. They should be fighting. But Russia should be fighting. The reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there. The problem is it was a tough fight.”

“Russia used to be the Soviet Union. Afghanistan made it Russia because they went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan,” Trump said.

Trump’s statement comes amid reports on a possible withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, a rhetoric his generals have advised him to avoid, including his just-departed defense secretary James Mattis, about whom he said: “What’s he done for me? How has he done in Afghanistan?” “I’m not happy with what he has done in Afghanistan, and I shouldn’t be happy.”

Trump added that he had “essentially” fired Mattis, though the Marine general resigned in protest over Trump’s announced withdrawal from Syria.

Trump talked about India’s aid and said that PM Modi was “constantly telling me he built a library in Afghanistan.”

“And we’re supposed to say, ‘Oh, thank you for the library.’ I don’t know who’s using it in Afghanistan,” Trump said, “That’s like five hours of what we spend.”

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