The Taliban’s spokesman claimed in an interview published on the group’s English-language website today that jihadists were getting down in the dumps until President Trump bucked what the commander in chief called his “original instinct” to pull out of Afghanistan over frustration with the course of the 16-year war.
“I knew several mujahidin, especially the martyrdom seekers, who were quite upset by saying that America had announced withdraw their forces from Afghanistan, thus jihadi attacks against them will be reduced which will deprive them from martyrdom,” said spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.
“When the new Trump’s strategy was announced insisting on prolonging the ongoing war in Afghanistan, those mujahidin were congratulating one another since the American forces will remain here and they will not be deprived from achieving either of the two desires: either they will win the battle and become ‘ghazi’ (i.e. hero or conqueror) or they will become martyrs serving the lofty cause of almighty Allah,” he added.
At the peak of the Afghanistan surge, in the Obama era, more than 100,000 U.S. troops were there; that was down to around 8,400 when President Obama left office. Trump’s new policy, announced in August at Fort Myer, is sending more than 3,000 new troops.
Trump also said that “perhaps it will be possible to have a political settlement that includes elements of the Taliban in Afghanistan,” a continuation of the Obama-era policy of wanting to negotiate with the Taliban. The Obama administration refused to brand the Taliban, a stalwart al-Qaeda partner, as a foreign terrorist organization so that negotiations would be open. The Taliban have been killing U.S. soldiers and just days ago warned that an American professor they took hostage last year is in failing health; demanding a prisoner swap, the Taliban insisted that they “will not be held responsible” if he dies.
The lengthy spokesman Q&A focused largely on Trump policy, with Mujahid declaring the Taliban are “obliged to completely annihilate this newly adopted strategy of Trump as we did before in the case of Bush and Obama strategies,” noting “the taxpaying American masses can no longer bear the excruciating pain and burden of these futile wars.” He cited U.S. polling about Afghanistan, predicting “inevitably with the passage of time, the disapproval ratings will increase as on one side.”
“Some leading American senators have criticized this strategy by alleging the American generals are concealing actual facts from the American people. In response, the Pentagon issued a statement which said that this new strategy for Afghanistan will cost an additional one billion dollars thus increasing the overall war-costs to $12.5 trillion annually,” he said.
Mujahid also brought up “multiple natural disasters” in America that left the economy “badly shaken.”
“Though the American authorities tried to conceal the devastation and financial losses incurred in these disasters through censoring reports in media but the reality is that only in the state of Texas , the damages were estimated $200 billion, which is a huge amount to be paid by the Trump administration,” he said.
The Taliban spokesman claimed that “there is no doubt that following the announcement of the new ridiculous American strategy, the aimless, brutal and indiscriminate bombardments have significantly increased,” and vowed that the terror group will avenge civilian casualties even as their own attacks cause civilian casualties.
The Taliban have a history of lying about casualty counts, and Mujahid, blaming “biased and subjective media” that “is so daring and fictional,” said they “have not suffered any significant losses in the aimless and confused assaults of the embarrassed enemy as they have adapted their tactics throughout the country with the increased and indiscriminate bombardment of the enemy.”
“Innovative strategies are planned by the Islamic Emirate for the battle fields, and you will witness tremendous progress in the near future, In-sha-Allah,” he claimed.
The spokesman claimed Americans aren’t told the truth about U.S. troop casualty counts in actions around the world, saying “most of their corpses are not sent back to their home towns, and thus keeping the people unaware of how colossal their losses and damages are in the ongoing futile wars initiated by their selfish and malicious authorities.”