On October 10, CBS News reported that the Taliban (the insurgent group in Afghanistan) has supported President Donald Trump in the US Elections 2020. It made Trump’s critics wonder if both entities are the sides of the same coin.
However, the Spokesperson of Trump’s Presidential campaign has reportedly rejected the support from the Taliban by saying that supporters should know that the President would protect the interests of Americans.
The news report was later rejected by Zabiullah Mujahid through a Twitter post. He stated that his remarks about the Trump were misinterpreted by the respective outlet.
The question is whether the reason the Taliban might have been supporting President Trump is in the wider interests of the US citizens or not.
The reason behind the Taliban’s Possible Support for Donald Trump
The reason for the terrorist group’s support (if it was true) for a US President who is labeled as being Islamophobic is that both want repatriation of the US troops from Afghanistan. In February 2020, the Afghan Taliban and the US government signed a peace deal according to which the United States will withdraw its forces from Afghanistan in different stages and complete repatriation by the start of 2021.
Just recently, Donald Trump stated in tweet about his plan to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan by the end of thid year.
Withdawal of the US forces from Afghanistan aims at bringing an end to the two decades long conflict that started after the 9/11 attack on World Trade Centre and Pentagon.
The US Strategy in Afghanisatan
Ex-US President Barack Obama had also envisioned the repatriation of the troops from Afghanistan but he couldn’t do so. Even Donald Trump despite promising his voters to bring the US soldiers back to their country endorsed the strategy of doing more in Afghanistan. Now another Presidential election is approaching and Trump is looking to spend another four years in the White House. By fulfilling the promise of ending the Afghan war (which has not remained much successful for the US as per the experts and as it seems) by withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan, Trump wants to win the trust of the US people and stay President for another four years.
Critics argue that the United States has faced defeat in Afghanistan as it faced in Veitnam.
Is Withdrawal of Troops from the United States in Interest of the US Citizens?
The United States has estimated spent more than 2 trillion dollars of the taxpayer’s money on war against terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. The funds otherwise could have been spent on health, education, and other welfare schemes for the US citizens. Any repatriation of troops that results in the saving of the precious lives of the US citizens and dollars that can be otherwise spent for the benefit of the public is indeed in the interest of the people.
Therefore, if the United States stops spending money on war against terror which the superpower is not even winning then the US citizens are indeed better off since they can vote for someone who spends their tax money on the productive projects related to the prosperity of the people.
However, the long-run impact of repatriation is whether Afghanistan, a country that remained warzone during the cold war and post- cold war era finally gets to achieve peace or not. The answer is uncertain. The reason is that the Taliban still have control over parts of Afghanistan through force or ideological spread. Further, the Afghan peace deal was also between the Taliban and the US government; it didn’t take into account the current politically divided Aghan government. Even one of the reasons why the US strategy in Afghanistan failed was the complex issues of Afghanistan that stemmed from the rivalry between socio-ethnic and religious groups. Unfortunately, the country has remained a battleground among different politico-religious ideologies; be it between the United States and Russia during the cold war era or between the US and Taliban after the cold war era.
So the Taliban who still have an influence in Afghanistan can re-surge to the mainstream after the withdrawal of the US forces jeopardizing the possibility of long-term peace in the region. The rise of any political force in Afghanistan which wants to dictate the people in the name of religion or any idealogy without caring for their interests is obviously not favorable for the Afghan citizens at least, even if it doesn’t affect the US citizens.