President Trump’s re-election campaign got a vote of confidence Friday from an entity more of his party: the Taliban.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told CBS News in a phone interview, “We conclude that Trump is going to win the forthcoming election because he has proven himself to be a candidate who has made all the huge commitments he has made to the American people, even though he may have skipped a few minor items, but has made bigger commitments, so it is likely that the people of the United States who have witnessed deceptions in the past will again support Trump for his decisive actions.”
Mujahid said, “We believe that the bulk of the American population is tired of chaos, economic collapse, and political lies, and will again trust Trump, because Trump is definitive, to manage the situation within the country. Other leaders, like Biden, chant unrealistic slogans.
Some other parties, smaller in scale but engaged in the military business, including arms manufacturers’ owners, and others who somehow profit from the war extension, maybe against Trump and support Biden, but their numbers among the voters are poor.”
Another senior Taliban official told CBS News, “We think he’ll win the election and close U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.”
Trump’s campaign spokeswoman, Tim Murtaugh, said Saturday that they “reject” Taliban funding. “The Taliban should know that the president will still defend American interests by whatever means is required,” Murtaugh said.
Taliban support for Mr. Trump is focused on the aim they share of bringing U.S. forces out of Afghanistan after 19 years of war — a long-standing pledge from the president.
There are currently less than 5,000 U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, and National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said the figure would decline to 2,500 by the beginning of next year.
In February, the Trump administration concluded a landmark deal with the Taliban, in which the U.S. and its allies set a timeline for the removal of U.S. forces by the spring of 2021. The pact allows the Taliban to split from al-Qaeda and strike a power-sharing agreement with the Afghan government’s rivals.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated last month, after meeting with Taliban co-founder and political deputy Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Doha, that the United States was set to withdraw entirely from Afghanistan by April or May 2021.
The Obama administration was unsuccessful in its effort to strike a comparable diplomatic agreement. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden told, “Face the Country” in February that the U.S. can drawdown but still maintain a residual power of “several thousand troops to make sure that we have a position where we can work” whether al-Qaeda or ISIS has the potential to hit the U.S.
This week, President Trump said that all soldiers should be “home by Christmas,” but it is not known if it is necessarily intended to happen, or whether he merely repeated his stance that he wished to get the troops home.