Time to leave Afghanistan, Taliban tell Trump

Al Jazeera reports: The Taliban has called on President Donald Trump to withdraw US forces from the “quagmire” of Afghanistan, saying nothing has been achieved in 15 years of war except bloodshed and destruction.

In an open letter to the new US president published on one of its official web pages, the Taliban said the US had lost credibility after spending a trillion dollars on a fruitless entanglement.

“So, the responsibility to bring to an end this war also rests on your [Trump’s] shoulders,” it said.

Afghanistan was invaded by the US in 2001 and has become Washington’s longest military intervention since Vietnam.

The Taliban justify their ongoing insurgency in the letter, claiming that the group’s “Jihad and struggle was legitimate religiously, intellectually, nationally and conforming to all other lawful standards”.

So far, Trump has had little to say publicly about Afghanistan, where around 8,400 US troops remain as part of the NATO-led coalition’s training mission to support local forces as well as a separate US counterterrorism mission. [Continue reading…]

The Washington Post reports: Over the past eight years, Afghans have become increasingly disillusioned with the American role in their country. Many blamed President Barack Obama’s policies for an increase in Afghan corruption, for air attacks that killed civilians, and for a foreign troop presence that failed to stop Taliban insurgents and was pulled out too quickly.

So it is not surprising that, like American voters who supported Donald Trump out of a longing for change, many Afghans are looking to his presidency as a chance for a fresh start. Most know little about Trump except that he may do something bold and unexpected. For now, that sounds appealing.

“Obama was too predictable. Sometimes a small dose of madness can be good,” said Davood Moradian, director of the Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies. He suggested that Trump’s bluntness and “masculine” approach may be useful for deterring the insurgencies that are thwarting Afghanistan’s path to stability and development. [Continue reading…]

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