The Taliban have welcomed a message from US President Donald Trump that US troops should be withdrawn from Afghanistan by Christmas.
The militant group called Trump’s tweet a “positive step” in a statement issued on Thursday, adding it was committed to the implementation of a mutual agreement signed between the Taliban and the United States in February.
Trump wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that the “small remaining number” of US forces in Afghanistan should return before Christmas, but provided no further details.
Following the message, the Afghan Ministry of Defence issued a video statement saying it has “the capability to repel the enemy attacks across the country,” without directly referencing Trump’s message.
The US signed an agreement with the Taliban on February 29, which provides for a gradual withdrawal of all NATO forces from Afghanistan within 14 months.
In return, the Taliban agreed to peace talks with Afghanistan’s government, which began on September 12.
Since the agreement, the Taliban has not killed any international soldiers but intensified attacks against Afghan forces.
Fighting in the country persists, as the Taliban continue to reject a ceasefire with Kabul despite the start of the peace negotiations.
The US invasion of Afghanistan began in 2001 and was sparked by the al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
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