As Trump approves expansion of US military intervention in Afghanistan, senior level members of the Taliban hit back with warning: “We will continue this war until our last breath, Afghanistan will become another graveyard for this superpower in the 21st century.”

Taliban terrorists | Archive

Taliban terrorists | Archive Photo Credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News

Early Monday morning, US President Trump spoke before a crowd of US troops in Virginia and addressed his foreign policy regarding Afghanistan and South Asia for the first time since becoming president. Trump promised to “fight to win” in Afghanistan by applying a new strategy and increasing the amount of boots on the ground, but would not elaborate on either point. 

“My original instinct was to pull out,” said Trump, but added that withdrawing from Afghanistan would only dishonor the US troops who died fighting there. Further, he added, a “hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and Al-Qaeda, would instantly fill.” 

Afghani soldiers | Archive

Afghani soldiers | Archive Photo Credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News

“He is just wasting American soldiers,” said a senior Taliban commander in an interview with AFP. “We know how to defend our country. It will not change anything.” He added that Trump’s speech offered “nothing new” and just proved that the current government in Kabul is merely “a US puppet.” In that sense, he added, Trump is just continuing the “arrogant behavior” of his predecessors like George W. Bush, who declared war on the organization following the September 11 attacks.

“For generations we have fought this war, we are not scared,” continued the senior commander, who spoke from an unknown location. “We are fresh and we will continue this war until our last breath.” 

Prior to Trump’s speech yesterday, the Taliban had reportedly written an open letter in which they warned him and his administration that sending more troops would be a mistake and to withdraw all foreign presence from Afghanistan. According to a commander with the Haqqani network, allied with the Taliban, Trump’s speech “has proved that it is a crusade. His statement has proved that he wants to eliminate the entire Muslim umma [community].”