US President Donald Trump’s comments on Wednesday applauding the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan did not sit well with many Afghans, who said his remarks revealed a poor understanding of the war.

“President Trump fails to recognise basic historical facts on the 1979 illegal invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union,” Javid Faisal, former government official and a candidate for the Afghan parliament, told The National.

“The sovereignty of Afghanistan was attacked and with the direct help of the US government … the Soviets were defeated,” he said, adding that thousands of Afghan lives were lost in the process.

In a news conference in Washington on Wednesday, Mr Trump justified the Soviet invasion by saying that “the reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there.”

“It was a tough fight. And literally, they [Russia] went bankrupt. They went back to being called Russia again as opposed to being the Soviet Union,” he added, defending reduced US involvement in the decades-long war.

Many Afghans were quick to point out that Mr Trump seemed unaware the US was the main international backer of the Afghan fighters who battled Soviet forces.

Mr Faisal recalled a quote from former US leader Ronald Reagan, who was in office during increased American support for the mujahideen.

“President Reagan said at that time: ‘As long as the Soviet Union occupies Afghanistan in defiance of the international community, the heroic Afghan resistance will continue and the United States will support the cause of a free Afghanistan’,” Mr Faisal said.

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