WASHINGTON ― As the Taliban continue to consolidate their grip over Afghanistan and begin dealing with the international community, they can do so with endorsements and praise from an American president.
No, not current President Joe Biden but his predecessor, Donald Trump ― the one who agreed to the “peace” deal so heavily skewed in favor of the terrorist group that it essentially assured its returned to power.
“We had a good long conversation today and, you know, they want to cease the violence. They’d like to cease violence also,” Trump said on March 3, 2020, just days after the agreement ― which was made with the Taliban but not the U.S.-allied Afghan government ― was signed.
He told reporters he’d had a 35-minute phone call with the Taliban leader and had told him: “It is a pleasure to talk to you. You are a tough people and have a great country, and I understand that you are fighting for your homeland.”
Six months later, Trump said at a news conference: “They’re very tough, they’re very smart, they’re very sharp.”
Even now, with the Taliban having overrun the Afghan government and taken back control, Trump continued praising the group, known for its murderous, theocratic tactics. “I will tell you they’re good fighters. You have to give them credit for that. They’ve been fighting for a thousand years. That’s what they do is they fight,” Trump told Fox Business on Tuesday.
At one point, Trump even claimed that the Taliban would take over the counterterrorism operation the United States had been basing out of Afghanistan. “They will be killing terrorists. They will be killing some very bad people. They will keep that fight going,” Trump said.
In fact, by the time of the February 2020 agreement, the Taliban had essentially merged with al Qaeda, the terrorist group it had harbored leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on America. The Taliban’s refusal to hand over Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders to the U.S. was the basis for the U.S. invasion and removal of the Taliban from power in the first place.
“I was at a loss as to where he got a lot of his information,” a Trump White House official said on condition of anonymity.