The Taliban welcomed President Donald Trump’s tweet announcing complete U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by Christmas.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s spokesperson, said on Thursday, that it was a “positive step” on the implementation of their agreement signed with the U.S. in Doha in February.
The Taliban is “also committed” to the agreement, Mujahid said adding, they “hope for good and positive relations with all countries, including the U.S., in the future.”
However, many people were somewhat perplexed by Trump’s statement, with Russian special envoy to Kabul, Zamir Kabulov calling it “pre-election rhetoric.”
“This looks like pre-election rhetoric, Trump most likely wants to show his voters that he fulfilled the previous pre-election promises,” Kabulov said in an interview with Sputnik.
The diplomat also welcomed the news, if true and said American military presence was unneeded in Afghanistan and had not helped the security situation in the country.
“There is no problem with that. Does their presence make any sense? Has the situation on the ground improved? It has only degraded,” he said.
Laurel Miller, Director of the Asia Programme at Crisis Group, said Trump’s tweet “kneecaps” and undermines all the previous U.S. statements that the troop withdrawal would be based on the Taliban meeting the conditions of their agreement.
“Or, Trump’s statement suggests that the only condition that concerns him is what he thinks sounds good on the eve of election,” she added.
Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, in his speech at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) in India, said that the Taliban believe they can “take advantage” of the U.S. troop withdrawal and take control of Afghanistan.
However, he warned, “The people of Afghanistan will not allow anyone to forcefully impose their will, or use violence to do so. And that’s the reality.”