Afghans seek clarity after Trump talks of wiping nation out, Latest World News - The New Paper

Afghans seek clarity after Trump talks of wiping nation out

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KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Tuesday the US should clarify remarks President Donald Trump made about Afghanistan, including a claim he could win the war but didn't "want to kill 10 million people".

Mr Trump made controversial statements a day earlier alongside Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House, such as that he could end the war but "Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the Earth".

His comments sparked outrage in Afghanistan. The war-weary population is already worried about a hasty pull-out of US forces - after nearly 18 years - and whether that means civil war and a quick return to rule by the Islamist extremist Taleban.

"Afghanistan calls for clarification on the US President's statements expressed at a meeting with the Pakistan Prime Minister..." Mr Ghani's office said. Mr Trump had said Afghanistan "would be gone. It would be over in literally, in 10 days".

His statements came as his peace envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad travelled to Kabul ahead of peace talks with the Taleban. The insurgents have been talking to Washington about a possible deal that would see foreign military forces quit in return for security guarantees.

Mr Ghani is furious about being sidelined by the US in peace talks. Pakistan's influence over the Taleban is seen as crucial to facilitating a political settlement with Mr Ghani's government.

"While the Afghan government supports the US efforts for ensuring peace in Afghanistan, the government underscores that foreign heads of state cannot determine Afghanistan's fate in absence of the Afghan leadership," Mr Ghani's office said. - AFP