U.S. President Donald Trump has received an unusual endorsement in the race for the White House, getting the nod from the Taliban in Afghanistan, CBS News reported.
"We hope he will win the election and wind up (the) U.S. military presence in Afghanistan," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told CBS News in a phone interview at the weekend.
But the Taliban expressed concern about Trump's battle COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. "When we heard about Trump being COVID-19 positive, we got worried for his health, but seems he is getting better," another Taliban senior leader told CBS News.
Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh on Saturday said the campaign "rejects" the Taliban support. "The Taliban should know that the president will always protect American interests by any means necessary," Murtaugh told CBS News.
With less than a month to go until the Nov. 3 election, Trump said earlier this week that U.S. troops could be fully withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of the year. The president has made reducing U.S. troop presence abroad a central campaign issue as he slams "endless" U.S. wars.
In mid-September Trump said he aimed to soon reduce the US footprint in Afghanistan to 4,000 troops. In February, the U.S. signed a peace deal with the Taliban to end the longest war in U.S. history. Under the agreement, all international troops should leave Afghanistan within 14 months in return for the Taliban's security guarantees. The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan was sparked by the Sept.11, 2001 al-Qaida attacks.