A top spokesman for the Afghan Taliban recently repudiated a CBS News story claiming that the narco-jihadi group wants President Donald Trump to win the upcoming election.
In response, CBS News claimed that it mistakenly cited Mujahid as the author of the headline quote, asserting that it originated from an unnamed senior Taliban leader. The Taliban has not, at press time, used its official channels to address the alleged new anonymous source of the quote.
The Taliban on Trump: "We hope he will win the election" and withdraw U.S. troops https://t.co/f85Z62brK9
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 10, 2020
CBS News did not retract the story and asserted that the Taliban spokesman not only praised Trump, but also admonished Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden as a lying politician known to “chant unrealistic slogans.”
“US news outlet @CBSNews has interpreted & published my remarks incorrectly,” the Taliban spokesman, Mujahid, wrote on Twitter on October 11, the day CBS published his alleged quote. “Nothing of the sort has been communicated as publicized by them.”
— Zabihullah (..ذبـــــیح الله م ) (@Zabehulah_M33) October 11, 2020
While the account is not verified, U.S. officials widely consider it the official Twitter feed of the Taliban spokesman and senior military officials have addressed it directly. The official Taliban website also features Mujahid’s Twitter handle.
Moreover, M Naeem, a spokesman for the political office of the Taliban, retweeted Mujahid’s rejection of the CBS story.
Soon after Mujahid’s tweet, CBS News added an “editor’s note” to the original story.
The note said:
A statement in this article was incorrectly attributed to Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. It was told to CBS News by another senior Taliban leader. CBS News has corrected that attribution and added additional statements from the interview with Mujahid.
The statement that CBS now claims came from an unnamed senior Taliban leader contradicts the original story’s primary premise.
CBS News reported that the basis for the terrorist group’s “enthusiasm” for Trump’s re-election is their mutual goal of getting U.S. troops out of the Afghanistan war, which began in October 2001 after the Taliban harbored al-Qaeda, who orchestrated the 9/11 attacks.
Nevertheless, CBS News claimed that the unnamed senior Taliban leader said, “We hope [Trump] will win the election and wind up [not down] U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.”
The CBS News story also featured another dubious quote from the anonymous alleged Taliban leader, claiming he said, “Trump might be ridiculous for the rest of the world, but he is sane and wise man for the Taliban.”
In contrast, the Obama-Biden administration refused to call the murderous Taliban a terrorist group in hopes it would convince the jihadis to engage in peace negotiations. This effort failed.
At the same time, military officials engaged in Afghanistan complained that Obama’s rules of engagement compromised their ability to protect their security.
In February 2016, then-top U.S.-NATO commander in Afghanistan Gen. John Campbell told lawmakers that under Obama, American troops could only attack the Taliban if they fired first from a defensive, not an offensive position.
Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for the Trump campaign, told CBS News they “reject” any Taliban support.
In February, the Trump administration signed a historic pact with the Taliban in which the U.S. and its allies set a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops as promised by Trump.
The U.S. military footprint is expected to drop to 2,500 by early next year from about 5,000 now. The Trump-Taliban deal also laid out the process for unprecedented ongoing talks between the Taliban and the U.S.-backed Afghan government, which remain at war.
This month, drawing the ire of the narco-jihadis, U.S. troops came to defend their Afghan allies in the Taliban stronghold of Helmand, an opium rich region that fuels the coffers of the terrorist group. Afghan troops are doing the vast majority of the fighting these days. So far, the Taliban has not attacked American positions since the February deal.
The withdrawal of U.S. troops is not contingent upon the success of intra-Afghan negotiations, which Naeem said on Saturday remain ongoing despite the Helmand airstrikes. Trump indicated he wants U.S. troops to return home by Christmas, a position welcomed by the Taliban.
Alongside other various issues, the ongoing process of Intra-Afghan negotiations was discussed in detail.
Both sides expressed their optimism about the progress in Intra-Afghan negotiations
— Dr.M.Naeem (@IeaOffice) October 17, 2020
Pulling out American troops is dependent on the Taliban’s commitments under the February deal to fighting its Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) rivals, sever its ties to al-Qaeda, and ensure attacks against America do not again originate from Afghanistan.
The goal of the Taliban, which calls itself the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), is to establish a sharia-compliant government as many other Muslim nations have done.
A recent poll conducted by the New York-based Eurasia Group Foundation found that the vast majority of Americans support the Trump-Taliban peace deal to end the war.