President Trump’s plan to send more troops to Afghanistan, with no deadline for their eventual withdrawal, drew immediate rebuke from the Taliban on its official website, Voice of Jihad.
“If America does not withdraw its forces from Afghanistan, the day will not be far when Afghanistan shall transform into a graveyard for the American Empire, and the American leaders can understand this concept,” read a statement from Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.
Trump’s plan will likely include several thousand more U.S. and NATO forces, though the President did not detail troop numbers in his address.
The Taliban statement condemned the U.S. decision to continue the war in Afghanistan: “Afghanistan is not a threat to anyone and neither has anyone been harmed from our soil.”
Taliban leaders also played off Trump’s statement that the American public is weary of the conflict in Afghanistan.
“The Afghan Mujahid nation is neither tired — nor will it ever get tired — in pursuit of winning their freedom and establishing an Islamic system,” the statement asserted.
The U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, described the president’s strategy as “a new approach to Afghanistan and the region.”
With the new strategy “the Taliban cannot win militarily,” he said. Nicholson called on parties waging war against the Afghan government to “renounce violence and reconcile.”
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.