The Taliban said in an open letter to President Donald Trump that the military situation in the Afghanistan war was “far worse than you realize”, and deploying more armed forces would be self-destructive, Reuters reports.
A senior Taliban official said that the rare move to address the U.S. president directly was set up to correspond with Trump’s considerations regarding the U.S. policy future in Afghanistan.
“Previous experiences have shown that sending more troops to Afghanistan will not result in anything other than further destruction of American military and economical might,” the Taliban said in the lengthy English-language letter.
It criticized the Afghan government as “stooges”, “lying, corrupt leaders” and “repulsive sellouts” who were providing Washington with “rosy pictures” of the military position. The Taliban, seeking to restore Islamic rule, has waged an increasingly violent insurgency against the Western-backed Afghan government since losing power in a U.S.-led invasion after the September 11 attacks in 2001. Those attacks were planned by Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden from a base in Afghanistan.
“The war situation in Afghanistan is far worse than you realize!” the letter said, arguing that the only thing preventing the Taliban from seizing major cities was a fear of causing civilian casualties.
The senior U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson, has requested several thousand additional troops to act as advisers to the struggling Afghan security forces. Influential voices including Republican Senator John McCain have also urged an “enduring” U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.
But such plans have faced skepticism in the White House, where Trump and several top aides have criticized years of American military intervention and foreign aid.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters on Monday that the Trump administration was “very, very close” to a decision on Afghanistan, adding that all options were on the table. However, U.S. officials believe it could take weeks for a South Asia strategy to be approved.