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Taliban's 'Open Letter' To Trump Urges U.S. To Leave Afghanistan

U.S. soldiers take up positions during an ongoing operation against the Islamic State (IS) militants in Achin district of Nangarhar province, April 11, 2017

The Taliban militant group has sent an "open letter" to U.S. President Donald Trump, calling for the United States to leave Afghanistan rather than increase the number of troops after 16 years of conflict.

"Previous experiences have shown that sending more troops to Afghanistan will not result in anything other than further destruction of American military and economical might," the letter sent to journalists on August 15 said in English.

The 1,600-word note sent by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid also said a U.S. withdrawal would "truly deliver American troops from harm's way" and bring about "an end to an inherited war."

Mujahid asserted that Trump recognized what the Taliban spokesman called the errors of his predecessors by seeking a review of the U.S. strategy for Afghanistan.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on August 14 that the Trump administration was very close to announcing its new military strategy for Afghanistan.

Since peaking at about 100,000 troops in 2010-11, the U.S. force has diminished. Some 8,400 U.S. service members remain in Afghanistan after most NATO forces pulled out in 2014.

About 5,000 non-U.S. NATO forces are still in the country.

Media reports say Mattis has recommended a 4,000-troop increase, but nothing has as yet been approved by Trump.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa

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