It seems the Taliban is on the Trump 2020 train.
During a Saturday phone interview with CBS News, a spokesperson for the Islamic fundamentalist group said its leaders are hoping Donald Trump can pull out a victory in the upcoming election. Zabihullah Mujahid suggested the primary reason behind the endorsement is the Trump administration's efforts to withdraw troops from the Middle East.
"We hope he will win the election and wind up U.S. military presence in Afghanistan," said Mujahid, before another Taliban leader touched on Trump's recent battle with coronavirus.
"When we heard about Trump being COVID-19 positive, we got worried for his health, but seems he is getting better," the second Taliban official said.
The comments came just days after the president told Fox Business Network he intended to pull the U.S. military out of the region "by the end of the year." He made a similar promise on Wednesday, tweeting: "We should have the small remaining number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas!"
We have the greatest troops in the world—and our troops in Afghanistan are coming home by the end of the year. pic.twitter.com/dC69OGkocS— The White House (@WhiteHouse) October 8, 2020
"I've been bringing them home, we're down to 4,000 trips in Afghanistan and I'll have them home by the end of the year, they're coming home as we speak," Trump told FBN. "Nineteen years is enough, they're acting as policemen, they're not acting as troops, we have the greatest troops in the world. I wiped out 100 percent of the ISIS caliphate, I killed [Quds force commander Qasem] Soleimani, I killed [ISIS leader Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi."
National security adviser Robert O'Brien recently said there are fewer than 5,000 service members currently in Afghanistan, and that number is expected to be cut in half by early 2021.
Tim Murtaugh, the communications director for the Trump campaign, addressed the endorsement in a statement to Business Insider.
"We reject their support," Murtaugh said, "and the Taliban should know that the President will always protect American interests by any means necessary, unlike Joe Biden who opposed taking out Osama bin Laden."
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