First Published: 2017-08-22

Taliban warns Afghanistan will become 'graveyard' for US
Trump clears way for thousands more US troops to be sent to Afghanistan, backtracking from his promise to rapidly end America's longest war.
Middle East Online

A U-turn

KABUL - The Taliban warned that Afghanistan would become "a graveyard" for the United States Tuesday after President Donald Trump cleared the way for thousands more American troops to be sent to the war-torn country.

"If America doesn't withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, soon Afghanistan will become another graveyard for this superpower in the 21st century," Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban in Afghanistan, said in a statement.

He added that America should think of an exit strategy "instead of continuing the war".

"As long as there is one US soldier in our land, and they continue to impose war on us, we, with a high morale will continue our jihad," Mujahid said.

Trump backtracked from his promise to rapidly end America's longest war in his first formal address to the nation as commander-in-chief late Monday, though he did not offer specifics.

He said he had concluded "the consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable", leaving a vacuum that terrorists "would instantly fill".

While Trump refused to offer detailed troop numbers, senior White House officials said he had already authorised his defence secretary to deploy up to 3,900 more troops to Afghanistan.

Earlier Mujahid had dismissed the strategy as vague and "nothing new".

"For now I can tell you there was nothing new in his speech and it was very unclear," he said.

A senior Taliban commander said that Trump was just perpetuating the "arrogant behaviour" of previous presidents such as George W. Bush.

"He is just wasting American soldiers. We know how to defend our country. It will not change anything.

"For generations we have fought this war, we are not scared, we are fresh and we will continue this war until our last breath," he told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location.

He added that the statement proved the current Afghan government "is a US puppet".

The insurgents signalled their intentions minutes after Trump spoke by claiming the US embassy in Kabul had been the target of a rocket attack late Monday.

The rocket landed in a field in the city's diplomatic quarter, with no casualties reported.

Trump also lambasted US ally Pakistan for offering safe haven to "agents of chaos".

A commander from the Taliban-allied Haqqani network, long believed to have links to Pakistan's shadowy military establishment, said that Trump "has proved it's a Crusade".

"His statement has proved that he wants to eliminate the entire Muslim umma (community)," he said.

Prior to Trump's announcement the Taliban had written an open letter warning him not to send more troops and calling for the complete withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.

 

Baghdad refuses talks with Kurdistan about referendum results

Three Israelis killed at West Bank settlement

Seven arrested in Egypt for raising rainbow flag at concert

European ambassadors to US strongly back Iran nuclear pact

Dubai set to become first city with flying taxis

Germany’s de facto ‘IS leader’ on trial

Saudi official axed over king's image with Yoda

Erdogan expects ‘ethnic war’ after Iraqi Kurdish independence vote

Syrian government ready to discuss Kurdish autonomy

63-year-old American abducted in Yemen's Sanaa

US kills ISIS chiefs hiding in new nerve centre

Saudi establishment spreading Shiite hate speech

Madrid hails Rabat’s collaboration in fighting terrorism

Regional tensions rise in Kurds’ independence vote

Iraq Kurds start voting in historic independence referendum

UAE announces plans for region’s first nuclear reactor

Erdogan threatens Iraqi Kurds with border closure, oil block

Putin to visit Erdogan this week for Syria, Iraq talks

Sudan vows to step up efforts to improve US ties

Turkey to launch intervention into Syria — and maybe into Iraq

Egyptian ‘world’s heaviest woman’ dies in Abu Dhabi

Palestinian unity government remains unlikely

Emirati man fights his employer to serve in country’s army

Palestinian PM to visit Gaza next week

Saudi advisory body to tackle female driving ban

Turkey denies closing Iraqi border in response to Kurdish vote

US air strikes kill 17 Islamic State militants in Libya

US-led strikes killed 84 civilians near Syria's Raqa

Yemen's Hadi says military solution 'most likely'

The high cost of Syria’s destruction

Palestinian negotiator awaits lung transplant in US

Kurds ready for contentious vote in Iraq

A Kurdish state: Reality or utopia?

Saudi intercepts missile fired from Yemen

Saudi Arabia marks national day with fireworks, concerts

Iran defies US, tests missile

Turkey warns of 'security' steps in response to Iraqi Kurd vote

Barzani delays Kurdish independence vote announcement

Syria's war off the radar at UN assembly

For many Iraqis, tradition trumps police

Darfur clashes kill 3 as Bashir urges reconciliation

Saudi cleric banned for saying women have ‘quarter’ brain

Veteran Syrian activist, daughter assassinated in Istanbul

Tunisia drops forced anal exams for homosexuality

Bomb used in Saudi-led strike on Yemen children US-made