The Taliban’s remarks were quoted in a report by CBS News on Saturday, saying the group hopes US President Donald Trump will win the US election and end American forces' presence in Afghanistan. This has sparked comments and criticism from leaders and analysts in Kabul.
Quoted by CBS News, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said, “We hope he will win the election and wind up US military presence in Afghanistan.”
Trump in a tweet last week promised to withdraw the remaining number of US forces from Afghanistan by the end of this year.
The Presidential Palace said Afghanistan and the US have a strategic relationship that will not be affected by the US election.
The High Council for National Reconciliation’s spokesman Fraidoon Khwazoon said the US election will not affect the current process in Afghanistan.
“The outcome of the US presidential election will not have a bad impact on Afghanistan,” Khwazoon said.
“Considering the past two candidates, neither Joe Biden nor Donald Trump are effective for Afghanistan,” Kabul University lecturer Nasrullah Stanekzai said.
In an interview with TOLOnews last week, US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said the US election will not bring many changes to the United States’ policy on the Afghan peace process.
“My guess is that more change will not happen in this respect,” Khalilzad said.
But Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh on Saturday said they reject the Taliban support. “The Taliban should know that the president will always protect American interests by any means necessary,” Murtaugh said.
The Taliban spokesman Mujahid in a tweet said his remarks were misinterpreted in the CBS News report.
“President Ashraf Ghani wishes that Joe Biden wins (the US election) but the Taliban is hoping for Trump’s victory,” said Sami Yousafzai, a freelance journalist who wrote the CBS News report.
"When we heard about Trump being COVID-19 positive, we got worried for his health, but seems he is getting better," another Taliban senior leader said as quoted by CBS News.
“With the flexibility they showed towards the Taliban, they (US) support the main enemies of the people and the government of Afghanistan,” said Mohammad Reza Khoshak Watandost, an MP.