Afghanistan has said the United States should clarify comments by President Donald Trump, in which he said he could easily win the Afghan war by wiping out the country but did not “want to kill 10 million people”.
“I have plans on Afghanistan that, if I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the Earth. It would be gone,” Trump told reporters. “It would be over in – literally, in 10 days. And I don’t want to do, I don’t want to go that route.”
The comment drew a stiff response from Afghanistan’s presidential palace, which has been excluded from talks between the US and the Taliban.
“The Afghan nation has not and will never allow any foreign power to determine its fate,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.
“While the Afghan government supports the US efforts for ensuring peace in Afghanistan, the government underscores that foreign heads of state cannot determine Afghanistan’s fate in absence of the Afghan leadership,” it added, calling for clarification of Trump’s statement.
During his comments in Washington, Trump said Pakistan was helping the US “extricate” itself from Afghanistan, where Washington was acting as a “policeman” rather than fighting a war.
Washington wants Islamabad to pressure the Taliban into a permanent ceasefire and participation in talks with the Afghan government.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special envoy for Afghanistan who travels to Kabul on Tuesday to continue meetings, said on Twitter that Trump had reiterated the need for a negotiated peace.
“There is no reasonable military solution to the war in Afghanistan, and that peace must be achieved through a political settlement,” Khalilzad said.
More than 20,000 foreign troops, most of them American, are in Afghanistan as part of a US-led NATO mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces. Some US forces carry out “counterterrorism” operations.