Taliban Open Letter to Trump: 'Unwaveringly Accept' Defeat in Afghanistan
The Taliban called upon President Trump to "unwaveringly accept" the "historically successful struggle" of jihadists over the past 15 years and give up the fight in Afghanistan.
"To Donald Trump, President of the United States of America!" begins the open letter from spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, posted on the Taliban's English-language website. "Availing this opportunity of understanding arisen due to the presidential change of your country, I wish to share with you a few realities about the ongoing war in Afghanistan."
"You, being chosen as the elected President of the United States and having to carry the burden of responsibility for all aspects of this war, must ask what is the end goal of this war? Everyone understands that wars are not waged for the sake of war but as a means to an end," he adds, emphasizing that jihadists have shown "it is impossible to provide safety for foreign forces or quell the armed religious and national resistance against it."
Embracing "reality," the spokesman told Trump, would mean being like "many officials of the countries allying with the occupation" that "opened channels of dialogue and understanding with the Islamic Emirate and slowly began pulling their troops out of this illegal, ineffective and aimless war."
Mujahid then launches into a short history of Afghanistan, as written by the Taliban, because Trump "must further understand the geography and nature of this war."
The Taliban, which have been receiving training from their ally al-Qaeda and called a truce with ISIS last year so both groups could focus on fighting the United States, were not designated as a terrorist organization by the Obama administration, who continually pressed the Afghan government to forge a peace deal with the Taliban even as the group continued attacks.
Two days after Election Day, a suicide bomber hit the exterior of the German consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif in what the Taliban said was a revenge attack on the United States.
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul then warned U.S. citizens about "a possible pending attack targeting foreigners at the Serena Hotel and a guest house located in PD-10 Kabul City” that could “be carried out by multiple suicide bombers at each location.” The luxury Serena Hotel has previously been attacked by the Taliban, including a 2014 mass shooting at the hotel's restaurant.
And then four days after the election, four Americans were killed in a suicide bombing at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan that the Taliban said they had been planning for four months.
The new open letter argues that the previous administration erred in viewing the Taliban as "mere rebellion" instead of "a governing system" and "well-grounded movement... which carries with itself a rational and understandable agenda for its warfare, politics and lawful cause."