Leave Afghanistan, Taliban militants tell Obama
Posted on: 03:14 AM IST Jan 22, 2009
Kabul: The insurgent Taliban said on Wednesday that US President Barack Obama should learn from the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan and pull his troops out of the country to allow Afghans to decide their own fate.
"We have no problem with Obama," a spokesman for the extremist Islamist movement told AFP after the inauguration of the new US president.
However "he must learn lessons from (former US president George W Bush) and before that the Soviets," Yousuf Ahmadi said by telephone.
Afghan mujahedeen (holy warriors) drove out Soviet occupiers in 1989 after a 10-year war which the Taliban says has parallels with its fight against the US-backed Afghan government and its international allies.
After a difficult 2008, Washington is expected to send up to 30,000 more US soldiers to Afghanistan, shifting the focus from Iraq in its "war on terror".
But Ahmadi said the United States should "stop making their young sons suffer in Afghanistan".
"The only solution is that they leave Afghanistan," he said.
"We are a free nation, as they are. They have come here and they want to decide our fate for us. This is not possible. We Afghans want to decide our fate ourselves."
The government of President Hamid Karzai depends on international military support to fight the extremist insurgency, which has some backing from al-Qaeda, and aid money to rebuild after decades of war.
Karzai has called on the insurgents to put down their weapons and join the new democratic political process.