Homeland Security

Taliban Vows 'Fervor of Martyrdom' High for 'Grand Obligation of Jihad' Against U.S.

Marking Saturday’s 16th anniversary of U.S. operations in Afghanistan, the Taliban, while vowing to press on with jihad, charged that American pundits and military leaders thought the country was “a bite-sized meal which can readily be devoured and added to their list of colonies.”

In a statement released on their website, the Taliban called the war that ended their brutal regime a policy with “no room for rational decision making… the flames of which are burning Americans to this very day.” They claimed their jihad continues “with complete firmness without feeling any sense of fatigue whatsoever” while “a new generation has been trained.”

“No matter how much you prolong the invasion, the end shall no doubt be your defeat and withdrawal,” the statement continued. “…We lunge towards battlefields with high spirits, fervor of martyrdom and with intention of fulfilling the grand obligation of jihad in the path of Allah.”

As they have since President Trump was elected, the Taliban called on the U.S. to “stop throwing yourself into the ditch of destruction by insisting on arrogance” and withdraw from Afghanistan as “thousands of our youth are still waiting in line for their turn at martyrdom and sacrifice and shall most certainly establish an Islamic government.”

In August, the Taliban vowed to create “a graveyard for the American Empire” with “lofty spirits” after President Trump didn’t heed their lobbying for a withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Taliban, stalwart al-Qaeda allies who publicly began reaching out to Trump right after Election Day, killed two U.S. soldiers in a suicide bombing that month and claimed responsibility for the death of a U.S. soldier in July. They also claimed an Afghan military recruit who killed three U.S. soldiers in June was one of their fighters who had infiltrated security forces.

The Obama administration called the Taliban an “armed insurgency” instead of a terrorist group despite its attacks on civilians and active training with other terrorist groups for fear that the designation would limit negotiations. In an Oct. 3 briefing, State Department press secretary Heather Nauert told reporters that the Trump administration is still continuing the Obama-era policy of encouraging engagement with the Taliban — which still isn’t designated as a terrorist organization — in a policy of “eventually getting Afghans to talk to Afghans, and that would certainly include the Taliban, getting them to talk to one another.”

“We don’t see the long-term solution in Afghanistan as being a military solution,” she added. “That’s a tool that unfortunately has to be used, but ultimately, the Afghans are going to have to want to come to the peace table.”

In Kabul at the end of the September, Defense Secretary James Mattis said he wanted “to reinforce to the Taliban that the only path to peace and political legitimacy for them is through a negotiated settlement.”

“We welcome those who commit to a peaceful future for Afghanistan. We support Afghan-led reconciliation as the solution to this conflict. And the sooner the Taliban recognizes they cannot win with bombs, the sooner the killing will end,” Mattis said. “…We would hope for a Taliban that would show some sort of consideration, but they have proven over years they have no consideration, no respect for the Afghan people.”