Trump said the Afghan government’s ability to defend itself from the guerrillas after US forces pull out was unknown. (Photo Credit: Reuters)
US President Donald Trump has said the Taliban could overrun the Afghan government after the United States withdraws from the country. This comes days after Trump spoke to deputy Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and discussed development towards attaining peace in Afghanistan.
“Countries have to take care of themselves. You can only hold someone’s hand for so long.” Asked if the Taliban could eventually seize power, Trump said it’s “not supposed to happen that way but it possibly will.” “We can’t be there for the next 20 years. We’ve been there for 20 years and we’ve been protecting the country but we can’t be there for the next—eventually they’re going to have to protect themselves,” he said.
Trump said the Afghan administration’s ability to protect itself from the guerrillas after US forces pull out was unidentified. “I don’t know. I can’t answer that question,” he said. “We’ll have to see what happens.”
The intra-Afghan discussions are due to start on March 10, according to the US-Taliban deal, but a clash over prisoner exchange has raised queries. The pact includes a pledge for the Taliban to release up to 1,000 prisoners and for the Afghan government to free around 5,000 rebellious captives—something the militants have cited as a precondition for talks. However, President Ashraf Ghani has declined to do it before the talks start. Under the US-Taliban agreement retained in Doha, the US has agreed to decrease its troops in Afghanistan from 13,000 to 8,600 in the next 130 days and pull out all its armed forces in 14 months.
Earlier also, Donald Trump had said, he planned to see Taliban leaders in the ‘not-too-distant future’. "I will be meeting personally with Taliban leaders in the not-too-distant future. And we will be very much hoping that they will be doing what they say they are going to be doing: they will be killing terrorists. They will be killing some very bad people. They will keep that fight going," Trump told reporters.
Asserting that war against terrorism must be fought by the countries in the specific region, Trump said, "We have had tremendous success in Afghanistan in the killing of terrorists, but it is time, after all these years, to go and bring our people back home. We want to bring our people back home."
"We just signed an agreement that puts us in a position to get it done, bring us down to in the vicinity of 8,000 troops. The United Nations was informed of everything," Trump added.