A recent Wall Street Journal op-ed piece said:
“The Taliban know that President Trump is eager to withdraw all US troops from the country, preferably before Election Day in November, so he can claim a diplomatic victory. But that gives the Taliban an incentive to bide their time in the hope of goading Mr. Trump to do something impulsive.”
Referencing the piece, Trump asked: “Could somebody please explain to them that we have been there for 19 years, and while soldier counts are way down now, hardly impulsive.”
“Besides,” Trump continued, “the Taliban is mixed about even wanting us to get out. They make a fortune $$$ by having us stay.”
“And, except at the beginning,” Trump said, “We never really fought to win. We are more of a police force than the mighty military that we are, especially now as rebuilt. No, I am not acting impulsively!”
The US in late February agreed on a gradual reduction of its forces in Afghanistan as part of the deal signed with the Taliban, however, US military officials in Kabul have insisted that the withdrawal is dependent on the situation on the ground, leaving room for a change of plans.
Based on the agreement, the US government would reduce the number of its troops from about 12,000 to 8,600 in 135 days starting in March. The process is underway, according to US officials.
According to the plan, the troop reduction was supposed to coincide with steps taken leading to intra-Afghan talks, which, however, have not begun. The delay is due in part to stalled prisoner releases, as well as political disunity within the Afghan government.
But a political agreement was signed between President Ashraf Ghani and his political rival Abdullah Abdullah, authorizing Abdullah to lead the peace efforts as head of the High Council for National Reconciliation.
Recently, the Taliban has ramped up its attacks against Afghan forces and civilians. Security chiefs at a press conference on Monday said the group has conducted over 3,800 attacks “against Afghan forces and Afghan people” since the signing the deal with the US at the end of February.
The Afghan government has begun mounting offensives against the Taliban, and on Monday acting Interior Minister Massoud Andarabi saying that “Afghan forces are fighting for peace, but Taliban is fighting for war.”