Taliban chief warns U.S. that troop surge in Afghanistan will be a 'mistake'

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

Islamabad [Pakistan], June 23 (ANI): The leader of Afghanistan's Taliban, Mawlavi Haibatullah Akhundzada, has warned the United States that it will be "making a mistake" by increasing its troop strength to combat insurgents. In his remarks on Friday in a message ahead of Eid ul Fitr he said, ""If you think that you may break our determination with your military presence and surge of troops, you are making a mistake! This is not the solution of the issue to continue your occupation on the request of the inept administration of Kabul." According to a report by VOA, he blamed foreign forces for being "the main obstacle in the way of peace in Afghanistan." The Taliban wants NATO forces to leave the country before it engages in any peace talks. Akhunzadah's message came a day after a Taliban suicide car bomber killed at least 34 people and wounded dozens of others in the southern province of Helmand. According to some recent media reports, the Pentagon is making plans to send additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan. While the number is currently expected to be between 3,000 and 5,000 troops, the number is still being worked on. President Donald Trump recently authorized his defense secretary, Jim Mattis, to add several thousand more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, primarily tasked to train and advise Afghan forces. In an apparent reference to growing contacts that Russia, Iran and China lately have established with his group, Akhunzadah said, "The mainstream entities of the world admit its [Taliban's] effectiveness, legitimacy and success." (ANI)