Trump comments on 1979 Soviet invasion angers Kabul

President Trump said the former Soviet Union was right to be in Afghanistan because it was fighting terrorists. (AFP)
Updated 05 January 2019
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Trump comments on 1979 Soviet invasion angers Kabul

  • The Afghan foreign minister slammed the invasion as a “grave violation” of the country’s territorial integrity and national sovereignty and said that “any other claim defies historical facts”

KABUL: Afghanistan on Friday blasted US President Donald Trump for defending Moscow’s invasion of the country 40 years ago and urging it to get involved in the current conflict.
Trump said the former Soviet Union was right to be in Afghanistan because it was fighting terrorists, upending decades of US foreign policy as Washington had funded and armed the opposition during the 10-year war in the belief that Moscow was trying to spread communism.
Hundreds of thousands of Afghans lost their lives in the fighting and it paved the way for the ongoing bloodshed in the country.
President Ashraf Ghani’s office said it was seeking official clarification from Washington over Trump’s comments.
“After the invasion of Afghanistan by the former Soviet Union, Afghans in a national uprising for gaining the freedom of their holy land, began jihad (holy war),” a statement said, adding that “after the invasion of the former Soviet, all of the presidents of America not only denounced this invasion but remained a supporter.”
It added that Afghanistan’s ties with the world had been established on the basis of common interests, and the presence of international forces in Afghanistan was to ensure its security and global security.
“There is a difference in utterances and official policy of the country (America). Therefore, we, through diplomatic channels, are seeking clarity from the USA about a series of comments, especially about some of the policies, and expect to share them with us in the near future.”
The Afghan foreign minister slammed the invasion as a “grave violation” of the country’s territorial integrity and national sovereignty and said that “any other claim defies historical facts.”
“Invasion was condemned by UN and the international community. Heroic resistance & sacrifice of millions of Afghans for freedom and independence ingrained in history,” Salahuddin Rabbani tweeted.
Trump also blamed the Afghan war for the collapse of the former Soviet Union. “Russia used to be the Soviet Union,” he said in a bizarre and rambling Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. “Afghanistan made it Russia, because they went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan. So you take a look at other countries. Pakistan is there; they should be fighting. But Russia should be fighting. The reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there. The problem is it was a tough fight. And literally, they went bankrupt.”
“They went into being called Russia again, as opposed to the Soviet Union. You know, a lot these places you’re reading about now are no longer a part of Russia because of Afghanistan.”
He also said that being in Afghanistan cost the US more in a month than the price of building a wall along the border with Mexico, a figure he placed at $5.6 billion.
Last month the US military was ordered to begin planning the withdrawal of about half of its troops from Afghanistan.


10 killed in car bomb attack in southern Afghanistan

Updated 49 sec ago

10 killed in car bomb attack in southern Afghanistan

  • The attack also hit the hospital in the city
  • Taliban said the attack was against the National Directorate of Security

KABUL: A car bomb attack targeting an intelligence services building in the southern Afghan city of Qalat on Thursday left at least 10 people dead and 85 wounded, the governor of Zabul province told AFP.
“This morning a car bomb targeted the NDS in Qalat of Zabul. The regional hospital of Zabul was also located there and has been destroyed in the attack,” said Rahmatullah Yarmal.
The bombing was later claimed by a Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, who said the attack was against the National Directorate of Security.
The blast in Zabul is just the latest in a string of deadly Taliban bombings across the country as violence intensifies before the end of the summer fighting season.
The increase in fighting also comes after US President Donald Trump earlier this month abruptly ended talks with the Taliban following nearly a year of seeking a deal that would have allowed the US to begin withdrawing troops from its longest war.
Trump’s declaration that the talks were “dead” spurred the Taliban to declare last week that the only other option was more fighting, sparking fears of more attacks ahead of presidential elections at the end of the month.
A BBC investigation released on Monday claimed that 74 people were killed every day on average in August, with 611 incidents resulting in 2,307 deaths.