KABUL: The Taliban have become the inveterate supporters of the U.S. President Donald Trump, pinning all their hope on his reelection bid next month so much that his ailing health is worrying them.
Extent of Taliban’s interests in American politics is a subject of much suspicion. The militants say they hope Trump will be re-elected in November elections and hold up his promise to wind up US military presence in Afghanistan.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in a phone interview with CBS News has said the Taliban “hope Trump will win the election and wind up U.S. military presence in Afghanistan”.
“Trump might be ridiculous for the rest of the world, but he is sane and wise man for the Taliban,” Mujahid was quoted as saying. But he later rejected it and said his remarks were misinterpreted.
Ex-spymaster Rahmatullah Nabil in a tweet has mocked the Taliban saying, “Taliban are praying these days, ‘O God, make Mr. Trump the winner of the upcoming elections and keep him safe. Do not deprive us of Dr. Khalilzad’s kindness and help us destroy ANDSF and the rest of Afghanistan in order to help Pakistan.”
This is as Trump’s campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh has said that they reject the Taliban support. “The Taliban should know that the president will always protect American interests by any means necessary,” he said.
In 2019, President Trump disclosed that he had invited the Taliban for peace talks at Camp David — days before the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He said he canceled the plans after the Taliban killed a U.S. soldier.
But Taliban’s enthusiasm with Trump’s reelection is couched in his rhetoric of leaving Afghanistan. They even welcomed Trump’s recent abrupt decision to withdraw all US troops by Christmas.
There are now fewer than 5,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. But President Trump in recent announcement said that he will bring back all US troops home by Christmas, a task which has sent shockwaves across the US military apparatus and is deemed impossible to be done in few months. It also badly affects peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban in Qatar.
The withdrawal plan also goes at odds with the Trump administration’s historic pact with the Taliban in February in 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 break from al Qaeda and negotiate a power-sharing deal with Afghan government rivals.
It is also not safe to reduce troop levels below 4,500 unless the Taliban breaks with al Qaeda and reduces the level of violence. Afghan people are caught up in a fierce violence orchestrated by Taliban. From January 1 to June 30 this year, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan documented 2,176 civilian injuries and 1,282 civilian deaths due to the conflict.