A senior Taliban commander says that President Trump’s plan for Afghanistan continues the “arrogant behavior” of former Presidents like George W. Bush.
“[Trump] is just wasting American soldiers,” they told AFP Tuesday. “We know how to defend our country. It will not change anything.”
“For generations we have fought this war,” the commander added. “We are not scared, we are fresh and we will continue this war until our last breath.”
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid on Tuesday additionally warned of grave consequences for the U.S. should it not withdraw its military forces from Afghanistan.
“If American doesn’t withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, soon Afghanistan will become another graveyard for this superpower in the 21st century,” he said.
Trump on Monday announced his change of heart on Afghanistan, noting he has long supported a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
“My original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts, but all of my life I’ve heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office,” he said at Fort Meyer, Virginia.
“A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists – including ISIS and al Qaeda – would instantly fill, just as happened before September 11,” Trump added, referencing the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Trump declined to commit to a specific increase in the amount of American troops in Afghanistan, however, nor a timetable for their exit there.
“We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for future military activities,” he said. “Conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables, will guide our strategy from now on.”
CNN later reported that senior Trump administration officials had approved a boost of 3,900 troops.
The U.S. currently has about 8,400 troops in Afghanistan, according to Al Jazeera, down from a high of approximately 100,000 between 2010 and 2011.
The War in Afghanistan is America’s longest-running conflict at 16 years and counting, and it has claimed the lives of more than 2,200 troops while costing more than $800 billion.