KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Tuesday the US should clarify remarks President Donald Trump made about Afghanistan, including a claim he could easily win the war but didn’t “want to kill 10 million people”.
Trump had made several controversial statements a day earlier alongside Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House, including that he had plans that would ensure a speedy end to the Afghan conflict, but which would wipe the country “off the face of the Earth”.
His comments sparked outrage in Afghanistan, where the war-weary and traumatised population is already worried about a precipitous pull-out of US forces and whether that means a quick return to Taliban rule and civil war.
Afghanistan “would be gone. It would be over in literally, in 10 days”, Trump said, adding, “I don t want to go that route”, and that he didn t want to kill millions.
Trump s statements came as his peace envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, travelled to Kabul ahead of a new round of peace talks with the Taliban.
The insurgents — who now control or influence about half of Afghanistan s territory – have been talking to Washington about a possible deal that would see foreign military forces quit in return for various security guarantees.
“The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan calls for clarification on the US president s statements expressed at a meeting with the Pakistan prime minister, via diplomatic means and channels,” Ghani s office said in a statement.
Trump also said Pakistan would help the US “extricate” itself from Afghanistan, adding there was “tremendous potential” in the relationship between Washington and Islamabad.
Afghanistan has long blamed Pakistan for fuelling the Afghan conflict and for supporting the Taliban — which Islamabad denies — and Ghani is furious about being continually sidelined by the US in ongoing peace talks with the Taliban.