Withdraw US troops from Afghanistan, Taleban tells Trump

The Taleban tells Donald Trump in an open letter that sending in more troops to Afghanistan would be self-destructive, as the US president weighs up extra boots on the ground.
US troops wait for airplane at the Camp Bastion in Helman province, Afghanistan.
US troops wait for airplane at the Camp Bastion in Helman province, Afghanistan.PHOTO: REUTERS

KABUL (Reuters) - The United States should withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan and stop listening to "stooges"in Kabul, the Taleban said in an open letter to United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday.

The Trump administration is working to finalise a regional strategy that could include nearly 4,000 additional US troops, part of a Nato-led coalition, that have been requested by commanders in the country.

That plan has faced scepticism in the White House, where Trump and several top aides have criticised years of American military intervention and foreign aid.

"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 Taleban said in the English-language letter released to media and addressed to Trump.

The Taleban, seeking to restore Islamic rule, have been waging an increasingly violent insurgency against the Western-backed Afghan government since losing power in a US-led military operation in 2001.

In the lengthy statement, the Taleban criticised the Afghan government as "stooges", "lying corrupt leaders" and "repulsive sellouts" who are providing Washington with overly optimistic"rosy pictures" of the situation in Afghanistan.

"The war situation in Afghanistan is far worse than you realize!" the statement said, while arguing that the only thing preventing the insurgents from seizing major cities was a fear of causing civilian casualties.

The statement also took aim at generals, whom the Taleban said "are concealing the real statistics of your dead and crippled" soldiers.

"We have noticed that you have understood the errors of your predecessors and have resolved to thoroughly rethink your new strategy in Afghanistan," the letter said. "A number of warmongering congressmen and generals in Afghanistan are pressing you to protract the war in Afghanistan because they seek to preserve their military privileges."

The senior US commander in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, has requested several thousand additional troops to act as advisers to the struggling Afghan security forces.

Powerful voices in the US government, including Republican Senator John McCain, have also called for an "enduring" US military presence in Afghanistan.

The Taleban letter concludes by saying the conflict could be resolved by the withdrawal of foreign troops.

"Everyone now understands that the main driver of war in Afghanistan is foreign occupation," the Taleban said. "The Afghans have no ill-intention towards the Americans or any other nation around the world but if anyone violates their sanctums then they are mighty proficient at beating and defeating the transgressors."