The Taliban called on President-elect Donald Trump to remove U.S. troops from Afghanistan Wednesday after his surprise victory.
“Our message is that the Americans should draft a policy not to take away the independence and sovereignty of other nations,” said the terrorist group in a statement, reported by Reuters.. “Most importantly they should withdraw all their troops from Afghanistan.”
Trump and his opponent former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were both fairly silent on Afghanistan policy during the presidential campaign. Trump maintained that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a mistake, but noted in an October interview with Fox News Sunday that Afghanistan would “collapse” in “about two seconds” if U.S. troops left.
Taliban leaders kept a close eye on the U.S. election, and even watched some of the presidential debates. A spokesman for the terrorist organization said in September that its leaders were not impressed by the “non-serious” Donald Trump.
The president-elect will enter office in January with a dangerously resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan. The terrorist group seized more territory in 2016 than at any other time in the last 15 years, according to the United Nations. Taliban forces are also inflicting massive casualties on the U.S.-backed Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), as many as 5,523 were killed from January to August alone.
Technically speaking, the U.S. and NATO are operating in Afghanistan in a support role. The reality on the ground is much different, with U.S. forces engaging with the Taliban “almost daily,” according to U.S. Army Gen. John Nicholson, commander of NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.
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