US President Donald Trump has won the support of the Taliban for his reelection bid, the Afghanistan-based militant group told CBS News on Friday.
The reason for this, a spokesperson told CBS, was that they hoped the incumbent Republican president would work on ending American military presence in the country.
“We hope he will win the election and wind up US military presence in Afghanistan,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid explained.
Another Taliban senior leader even expressed serious concern for the president’s health, following news of his diagnosis with the coronavirus
“When we heard about Trump being COVID-19 positive we got worried for his health, but seems he is getting better,” the senior leader told CBS News.
The support showed by the Taliban comes as Trump has expressed the desire to wind down US military presence in the country after 19 years. At the time of writing, the number of US troops in Afghanistan stands at 5,000, with national security adviser Robert O’Brien promising the number will drop by 50% by early 2021.
Part of this withdrawal, however, is part of a pact signed between the Trump administration and the Taliban in February which specified that it should break away from the terrorist group al-Qaeda and share power with their rivals in the Afghan government. Many US military commanders are against reducing the number of troops below 4,500 unless the Taliban makes their break with al-Qaeda official, CBS News reported.
But surprisingly, the Taliban also support Trump for his motto of “America first” – as it is a departure from the role of “world police” that some see as being part of the policy of prior administrations – as well as for being an honest leader.
“It is the slogan of Trump from the start that they are not cops for the world and don’t want a single flag and anthem for the globe, but their priority is America,” Mujahid told CBS News.
“Trump might be ridiculous for the rest of the world,” a senior Taliban member explained to CBS News, “but he is sane and wise man for the Taliban.”
Though this show of support from the Taliban is surprising, for the Trump campaign it appears to be wholly unwanted. On Saturday, Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh announced that the campaign rejected the support of the Afghan terrorist group.
“The Taliban should know that the president will always protect American interests by any means necessary,” Murtaugh explained in a statement to The Hill, adding that he is “unlike Joe Biden, who opposed taking out Osama bin Laden and Qasem Soleimani.”
The Taliban is not the only controversial entity to endorse the incumbent Republican president. Trump also received endorsements from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, the niece of Osama bin Laden and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.